Global gender equality and the UN

193 UN Member States assembled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this July for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. Their goal is to find solutions to “end poverty and hunger, and to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment, and promoting social inclusion”(Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Annex).

Empowering women is essential to ending world poverty.

This financing blueprint for global development recognizes the significant role of gender equality in its optimistic goals: "Evidence shows that gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s full and equal participation and leadership in the economy are vital to achieve sustainable development and significantly enhance economic growth and productivity...We will promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws, social infrastructure and policies for sustainable development, as well as enable women’s full and equal participation in the economy..." (Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Annexparagraph 21)

Although there is much work is left to be done,there is cause for hope and celebration in the international recognition of the vital role that women’s empowerment plays in economic and societal success worldwide. The “Addis Ababa Action Agenda” gives us hope because many of its strategies have been successful in real world situations. 

What has already proven constructive in terms of global gender equality?

First is how UN Women’s work, in 73 countries, increasing funding to capitalize on domestic resources – as well as for internal development – has drastically aided women's empowerment. Around the world, this tactic has made positive change. In Tanzania in 2002, elementary school fees were removed, significantly increasing the number of girls attending. Bolivia and Botswana have both channeled income from their abundant natural resources to generate a greater funding for social pensions, while Cambodia, Costa Rica, and Sri Lanka have done so by reducing military expenditures.

Second, effective changes follow when gender equality becomes a motif of legal policy, factoring into every nation's lawmaking decisions the nation as a whole benefits. Although it is challenging to execute, this encourages businesses and organizations to promote women's empowerment. For example, since 2014, Sweden has set a noteworthy example of this commitment in its openly feminist government, with goals of minimalizing the employment/income disparity between men and women. Thus, more women have become involved in the government body and work to address the impact of gender inequality on men's and women's comparative health. Aside from this, in many parts of the world, women entrepreneurs face immense challenges in obtaining loans, technology, and investors. Therefore, they need their governments to advocate for them, creating policies that encourage their opportunities for success.

We are elated to see international determination and cooperation to empower women and raise the standard for gender equality on a global scale. It will take all of us to eradicate poverty and empower women. The good news is that change is within our grasp. One person, one company, one country at a time can make a difference. The fight belongs to all of us, and there is a way for everyone to jump on board. From the products we chose to buy to the principles our actions support we make a difference one small choice at a time.

Made for Freedom is a part of the complex solution and has ways for you to get involved! Check out our Impact page!