In 2016, countries agreed to seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including ones focused on ending poverty, and addressing  hunger, education gaps, clean water, economic growth, and climate change. (Link to full list of goals)  In order to measure progress towards meeting the 17 goals, there are 169 overall targets. .  

Goal 5 is a stand alone goal focused on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Goal 5 has nine targets, spanning the need to end discrimination against women and girls and gender-based violence, to ensure equal access to education, and equal participation in public and economic life. Specifically, the targets ask us collectively to:

  1. End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere;
  2. Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation;
  3. Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation;
  4. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate;
  5. Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life;
  6. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences;
  7. Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws;
  8. Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women; and,
  9. Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

These targets are not indicators per se, and do not create a new reporting framework. On the contrary, the United Nations encourages governments and organizations to use the SDGs to guide their activities. Reporting on progress towards these overarching and important goals should be done using already existing frameworks and indicators that best suit each context, organization and issue.

In this space, we will continue to report on — and track — efforts to measure the progress of the United States towards Goal 5. We will also share other interesting information around the topic. Your thoughts and additional materials may be sent to [email protected]. We look forward to collaborating with you.