in: Loewe, Markus / Nicole Rippin (eds.), Translating an ambitious vision into global transformation: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), (Discussion Paper 7/2015), 37-41
Goal 5 is about achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The focus of the goal is ideal and essential for development: to create equal opportunities between men and women across economic and political fronts and to empower women in areas where they are systematically disadvantaged and discriminated against. As with Goal 10 (“Reduce inequality within and among countries”), Goal 5 is both a cross-cutting issue as well as a goal in its own right. Consequently, most of the general targets within Goal 5 overlap with targets in other goals that explicitly mention the gender aspect. For instance, gender equality in education – the central pillar in Millennium Development Goal 3 – has been included in Goal 4 (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”) and in particular in Target 4.5 (“by 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training …”). This explicit mentioning of gender-related questions could be considered unnecessary with the draft outcome document of the UN summit pledge “we wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society”– which includes women. Nevertheless, there is good reason to mention gender aspects specifically, since such complementarities create a political push towards achieving Goal 5 faster and more efficiently.
The same, however, cannot be said about the operationalisation of the goal. None of the six suggested targets are time-bound, and hence, not binding at all. The fact that the negotiators could not agree on any specific timeline for the achievement of the targets is a political statement in itself, the impact of which should not be underestimated. Thus, although Goal 5 is seen to generally align with other goals, its level of ambition is rather lofty.