SDG 5
« »

Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but is 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.

In the Arab region, women face high barriers to entry into the labor market and are at a higher risk of unemployment than men. Despite witnessing a slow decrease over the last 15 years from 22.4 percent in 2000 to 19.96 percent in 2015, women’s unemployment rate is more than double that for men in the region at 8.96 percent, and to a world average of 6.2 percent, both for the same year, 2015. Among young women, unemployment rates are the highest in the world, almost double the rates among young Arab men, 48 versus 23 percent.

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 SDG 5 –to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 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.

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 Algeria

A future in politics for women in Algeria

Yasmina is a lawyer by training, but after she got married, it took a lot of courage for her to step out of her housewife status and get involved in politics. MORE >

UNDP Egypt

Access to Justice for the vulnerable in Egypt

On the steps of the Family Court in the Heliopolis neighborhood of Egypt’s capital, Cairo, ‘Ayesha’, who preferred not to give her real name, tells a story that is all too common. MORE >

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP United Arab Emirates 
Go to UNDP Global