Gender equality is a fundamental and inviolable human right and women’s and girls’ empowerment is essential to expand economic growth, promote social development and enhance business performance. The full incorporation of women’s capacities into labour forces would add percentage points to most national growth rates – double digits in many cases. Further, investing in women’s empowerment produces the double dividend of benefiting women and children, and is pivotal to the health and social development of families, communities and nations.
Gender equality by 2030 requires urgent action to eliminate the many root causes of discrimination that still curtail women’s rights in private and public spheres. For example, discriminatory laws need to change and legislation adopted to proactively advance equality. Yet 49 countries still lack laws protecting women from domestic violence, while 39 bar equal inheritance rights for daughters and sons. Eliminating gender-based violence is a priority, given that this is one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today. Based on data from 87 countries, 1 in 5 women and girls under the age of 50 will have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months. Harmful practices, such as child marriage, steal the childhood of 15 million girls under age 18 every year. UN Women acts to empower women and girls across all its programmes and advocacy. With stepped-up action on gender equality, every part of the world can make progress towards sustainable development by 2030, leaving no one behind.