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Race for the 2030 Sustainable Agenda: Snapshot of Gender Equality in 2023

Image: SDG 5: Gender Equality 

Despite improvements in various spheres, gender equality has not been achieved and progress has stalled in recent years. With just seven years remaining, only 15.4% of Goal 5 indicators with data are "on track", 61.5% are moderately on track, and 23.1% are far off track from the 2030 targets. It is estimated that it will take up to 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments at the current rate of progress. However, there are notable improvements that should be noted. 

Around the globe, the prevalence of child marriage has declined down to 16% from 21% in 2016. Additionally, today one in five young women were married before their 18th birthday, compared with one in four 25 years ago. Notable progress has been made on this front in countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Maldives and Rwanda. At the current pace, however, the world is at least 300 years away from ending child marriage, pointing to a lack of stall in bold action from governments. 

In governing bodies around the world there has been a slight increase in the percentage of women holding seats in the lower and single chambers of national parliaments, rising from 22.3% in 2015 to 26.5% as of 1 January 2023. Likewise, the percentage of women holding seats in deliberative bodies at the local level has also increased, going up from 33.9% in 2020 to 35.4%. While these numbers are significant, they are not on track to meet the 2030 deadline. One effective way to increase the representation of women in national parliaments and local governments is through the implementation of gender quotas, which have been beneficial in countries they are implemented in. 

In order to achieve gender equality, it is essential to have strong political leadership and implement comprehensive policy reforms to break down systemic barriers. Although progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve gender equality worldwide. Many women still face discrimination and inequality in their daily lives, and women and girls are disproportionately impacted by poverty, violence, and the lack of access to education and healthcare. With continued efforts and a commitment to gender equality, we can strive towards a world where every person has equal opportunities and rights, regardless of their gender.

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