Gender Inequality and Sustainable Development

Gender Inequality and Sustainable Development

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0969-2.ch007
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The chapter argues that inequality between men and women has led to the gap in income and poverty for women. Gender inequality and women's empowerment have, therefore, become one of the 17 pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030. This chapter, therefore, examines the global performances on gender inequality index (GII) and the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030, regional performance and the Sustainable Development Goals, the top best performers on gender gap parity versus the worst performers on gender gap parity, and sub-national performances and global rankings. Also, this chapter examines the challenges of achieving gender equality by 2030 along with policy options for achieving gender equality in the year 2030.
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Gender inequality and women’s empowerment are at the center of Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 following successes recorded in Millennium Development Goals of 2015, by countries, which on the average achieved 50% target, more efforts are required to realize gender equality and sustainable development Agenda’s goals.

The post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda goes a long way towards turning the goals into reality. Gender issues features in all 17 indicators of SDGs; but the major focus is Sustainable Development Goal 5, on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. So, empowering women in the economy and closing gender pay gaps in the world are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, Goals 5, to achieve gender equality; Goal 8, to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all; Goal, to end poverty, Goal 2 on food security, Goal 3 on ensuring health and Goal 10 on reducing inequalities. Women’s economic participation and political empowerment boosts productivity, as well as increases economic growth and income equality (IMF, 2018).

Furthermore, increasing women’s and girl’s educational attainment contributes to women’s economic empowerment and more inclusive economic growth. Education, skill acquisition, and re-skilling overtime to keep pace with rapid technological and digital transformations affecting jobs are very critical for women’s and girl’s health and well – being, as well as their income – generation opportunities and participation in the political system. For example, increased educational attainment accounts for about 50 percent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years (OECD, 2012).

Equal pay for work of equal value is reflected in the agenda (SDGs, Report, 2015). The framework was established to turn SDGs indicators into management tool to help countries develop implementation strategies and allocate resources accordingly well as report card to measure progress. Within the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which calls for the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. A specific target 8.5 was established to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030. (ILO, 2016). Achieving target 8.5 will also accrue to other relevant SDGs, namely Goal 1 to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Goal 5 is aimed at achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls. Goal 10 aimed at reducing inequalities within and among countries and Goal 16 aimed at promoting inclusive society (SDGs Report, 2015).

In previous studies, feminist sociologists have high-lighted gender as an equally important basis of structured inequality, arguing that the concentration of women in jobs which are characterized by low pay, insecurity, lack of opportunities for promotion and poor working conditions (often referred to as the secondary labor market) is related to patriarchal power and the sexual division of domestic labor (Crompton & Mann, 1986; Walby, 1986). Survey on women and employment confirmed that there is influence of women’s family on their participation in the labor market.

In theoretical perspective, role theory has attended to the social construction of gender categories. Right from the works of Parson (1951) role theory has emphasized the social and dynamic aspect of role construction and enactment (Thorne, 1980; Connell, 1983). Thorne, (1980) observes that conceptualizing gender as a role makes it difficult to assess its influence on other roles and reduces its explanatory usefulness in discussions of power and inequality. Drawing on Rubin (1975), Throne calls for a re-conceptualization of women and men as distinct social groups, constituted in “concrete historically changing – and generally unequal – social relationship (Thorne, 1980, p. 11).

Post – modern feminism tends to reject the claim that there is a single theory that can explain the position of women in society. It encourages the acceptance of many different points of views as equally valid. It equally derives that there is a single unity essence to the concept of women. Abott & Wallace, (1997) argue that central to post-modernist theory is the recognition of different – race, sex, age – and deconstruction – a multiple divided subject in a multiple divided society.

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