The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. It's comprised of eight international goals that were agreed to by 193 countries aiming to meet the needs of the global poor by 2015. Last week we continued the discussion with Goal #2. This week the focus is on Millennium Development Goal #3.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
Targets within this goal are:
a) eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005 and in all levels of educations no later than 2015.
Parity in access to primary education has been achieved. 117 countries has passed wage equality laws and as of 2012 women occupied almost 20% of the seats in lower houses of parliament.
What's Still to Be Done
Access to secondary and post-secondary education is still very imbalanced. Poverty is the main cause of the eduction imbalance, particularly for girls of secondary school age. Women and girls in many parts of the world are forced to spend hours fetching water and girls often do not attend school because of the lack of decent sanitation facilities. Child marriage and violence against girls are also significant barriers to education.
Examples and Stories of Progress
In Somalia, a UNICEF-supported program offers a compensation package for girls enrolling in school, participating in class and staying in school.. The package includes funds for registration fees and school uniforms, bus fare, supplies, textbooks and more.
Through UN Women, women farmers in Rwanda are participating in a great capacity with 15 co-ops. Women are being trained in budgeting and men are being encouraged and provide for women. This has led to many couples sharing agricultural and financial decisions and larger crop yields.
2015 and beyond
For post-2015, The UN has created a new more comprehensive set of goals: The Sustainable Development Goals. It calls for the empowering of all women and girls and for full gender equality. This includes the elimination of all forms of discrimination and all forms of violence against women. Eliminating FGM/cutting and all harmful practices, such as child marriage, is also called for. It will also work towards increased access to paid employment and payment for now-unpaid domestic work. Family-friendly policies would allow women a better work-life balance.
The official website for the MDG's contains plenty of information and encouraging stories: LINK
Sarah lives in Northern Ontario with her family. Sarah and her husband have four children, and one grandson. She is an avid reader and learner. In 2012, Sarah launched JustOne with Krista and travelled to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa together. Sarah has a blog we love to read called "Recipe for Messiness" that is about finding beauty amidst our messy lives.