Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. It has been proven time and again, that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps drive up economic growth and development across the board.

Since 2000, UNDP, together with our UN partners and the rest of the global community, has made gender equality central to our work. We have seen remarkable progress since then. More girls are now in school compared to 15 years ago, and most regions have reached gender parity in primary education. Women now make up to 41 percent of paid workers outside of agriculture, compared to 35 percent in 1990.

The SDGs aim to build on these achievements to ensure that there is an end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere. There are still huge inequalities in the labour market in some regions, with women systematically denied equal access to jobs. Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public office, all remain huge barriers.

Affording women equal rights to economic resources such as land and property are vital targets to realizing this goal. So is ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health. Today there are more women in public office than ever before, but encouraging women leaders will help strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality.   

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Goals in action

UNDP in Iraq

Yazidi women find economic independence in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Dost Bakery is a small cake business that opened in Iraqi Kurdistan in the autumn of 2015. Dost means “friend” in Kurdish, as the bakery is run by 10 friends. All of them are women who were displaced by ISIS... MORE >

UNDP in Guatemala

Women survivors raise their voices for justice

More than 30 years after she saw her family and community torn apart by Guatemala’s decades-long civil war, Elena de Paz decided to tell her story. She was one of the 97 witnesses who testified during the trial for crimes against humanity. MORE >

UNDP in Mali

Supporting Mali's women to adapt to climate change

Climate change has led to more drought and shorter rainy seasons in Mali. The government has partnered with UNDP to strengthen agricultural communities and empower women to mitigate the social and economic impacts of climate change. MORE >

UNDP in Ghana and Indonesia

Removing the obstacles for women farmers

Through the Green Commodities Programme, UNDP is bringing together government, big business and small-scale farmers across 10 countries to address sustainable agricultural practices. The programme helps improve access to resources and ensure equal opportunities for women. MORE >

UNDP in Costa Rica

Pineapples on the path to sustainability

With support from UNDP, Costa Rica has introduced an action plan that fosters partnerships to promote production and trade that is responsible, fair, and in line with practices protecting the environment, the community and the general public. MORE >

UNDP in Honduras

Honduran women light the way

They don’t know how to read or write. Yet Iris Marlene Espinal, Carmen Lourdes Zambrano Cruz, Alnora Casy Estrada and Ingrid Miranda Martinez are engineering an energy secure future. MORE >