27 March 2014: Plan International welcomes the strong call by UN member states to prioritise gender equality and human rights of women in the next set of sustainable development goals.
Plan supports the recommendations of the recent Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which closed early Saturday morning after 2 weeks of intense negotiations. Plan strongly supports the UN’s confirmation of the need for a stand-alone goal on gender equality in the set of international targets that will define the post-2015 global development agenda.
The agreement also said gender equality must underpin all other goals. However, Plan still believes much more needs to be done, in particular on acknowledging the importance of the empowerment of girls in the post-2015 agenda, as well as ensuring the full participation of many girls worldwide in the decisions which directly affect their lives.
The 58th Commission convened at the UN headquarters in New York to address the challenges and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in improving the lives of women and girls in developing countries.
While the MDGs resulted in a reduction of poverty in some respects, the goals furthest from being achieved are those focused on women and girls - particularly on achieving gender equality and improving maternal health. With the MDGs set to expire in 2015, the CSW’s recommendations will help shape priorities, particularly those affecting women and girls, for the next global sustainable development framework.
Sarah Hendriks, Plan International’s Global Gender advisor said: “We are delighted to see a proposal for a stand-alone goal on gender equality. It both recognises the need for stronger human rights and acknowledges the destructive and long-term effects that practices such as child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, unpaid and poorly paid work, violence and discrimination can have upon the lives of millions of girls and women.
"We also welcome the CSW’s conclusions on sexual and reproductive health rights which directly impact the lives of women and girls.
“Empowering and educating girls is not only the sensible thing to do, it is the right thing to do. We must tackle the barriers which deny women and girls an education, the right to make decisions which affect their lives, to decent employment - and equal pay for equal work - and to live free of violence. They hold back economies, countries, communities -and individuals from meaningful and sustainable development.”
Plan, whose girls’ rights campaign Because I am a Girl has particularly focused on the importance of access to quality education, welcomed the shift in focus from simply increasing access to primary school to a ‘lifecycle approach’ to education. This will help reduce girls’ school drop-outs rates, improve girls’ transition and completion rates, and give better, safer access to learning throughout girls’ and women’s lives.
Sarah added: “This is very positive moving towards 2015, to see more gender specific targets applied across all areas - education, health, economic justice, and the environment.
“Plan believes that both women and girls are agents of change and development and we would like to see them supported to be able to become more fully active in the various aspects of public life, including playing integral roles in disaster risk reduction, response, and recovery, and in making decisions which affect their own lives.”