It is not a dream to have a 50-50 planet by 2030

It is not a dream to have a 50-50 planet by 2030

I have been working for development for over 15 years now and my main motivation for this challenging career has always been to dream about gender equality. 

Why do I care so much about gender equality?

Gender equality is the most fundamental prerequisite of human rights and it is sine qua non to accelerating sustainable development overall. 

Although much has been achieved in the quest for gender equality, there is still much to do to enhance it globally and in Turkey. Global figures show that the international community should act collectively without delay and with a uniformed stance through joint endeavors. 

According to the Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report, reflecting gender disparities in reproductive health, empowerment and labor market participation, Turkey ranked 71st out of 155 countries in 2014. In November 2015, only an estimated 31.6 per cent of women were in the labor force. Almost half of women employment (44.2 percent) is unregistered, meaning without any social security.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, which in 2016 has the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality,” I would like to stress the fact that in order to be successful in the quest for gender equality, we need to break our silos and enhance gender equality mainstreaming in all sectors and institutions.

What do we mean by gender equality mainstreaming?

This is a strategic approach with which the implication for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs, and their implementations in all areas and at all levels are assessed.

Gender equality mainstreaming is not about focusing only on “women’s needs.” It is about bringing the experience, knowledge, and interests of both women and men equally to bear on the development agenda.

The Beijing Platform for Action brought gender equality mainstreaming to the fore in 1995 and the United Nations adopted the first resolution on gender equality mainstreaming in 1997.

I believe that Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which was adopted last September by the U.N.’s member states, is an incredible opportunity to build momentum for mainstreaming the gender equality perspective at all development levels. 

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals and although there is one goal, Goal Five, on “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls,” this new set of goals offers to integrate gender equality for each goal in order to reach their targets by 2030.

The UNDP is very interested in supporting that process.

The UNDP is deeply involved in all processes around the SDG rollout. We are bringing our extensive programming experience to support countries in developing their national SDG efforts.

Gender equality mainstreaming is one of the main perspectives we at the UNDP offer to our partners. 

The UNDP supports the empowerment of women and girls through gender-specific targeted interventions and also addresses gender equality concerns in the developing, planning, implementing and evaluating of all policies and programs. 

The UNDP works with a range of partners in government and civil society in Turkey to integrate gender equality considerations and expand women’s equal and active participation in the formulation and implementation of inclusive and sustainable development strategies. 

We at the UNDP in Turkey support approaches to transform traditional gender norms and reduce or eliminate barriers to women’s economic empowerment. 

We promote gender equality mainstreaming by creating replicable and scalable models. We contribute to reduce all forms of discrimination and gender-sensitive policy-making through development of inclusive gender-responsive tools.

We work to strengthen national gender equality machinery and its extension to the local level, targeting the regions of greatest inequality. We inform relevant policies using pilot interventions for women’s greater economic empowerment.

As our administrator Helen Clark says: “No country will reach its full potential if its female citizens do not enjoy full equality.”

And this is what the UNDP advocates for, to create a world where the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion are achieved.

* Matilda Dimovska is the UNDP’s deputy resident representative in Turkey.