The 25th of September 2015, the UN set 17 goals to transform our world; called The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The ultimate goals is to tackle the most urgent problems while measuring progress and solutions. The SDGs are a common set of goals for all communities in every country. The United Nations hope these goals will point these communities in the right direction while holding them accountable. In this blog post we will go more in depth on goal 4 and 5 which is quality education and gender equality. We believe these goals are necessary to achieve if we want a sustainable development.
“Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals based on their gender It arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles.”
Gender inequality remains a major barrier to human development. Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, economy politics and education. Below there is a map of countries ranked according to calculated gender gaps. The darker the blue is, the less of a gap there is between men and women.
The map is from the The global gender gap report 2016 and it covers 144 countries. Despite massive progress, women’s rights remain a critical issue throughout the world especially in regions like North Africa and the Middle East. Gender inequality is a global challenge.
Girls and woman made major strides and has gotten more rights ever since 1990, but have not yet gained gender equality. Gender equality is necessary for us to be able to live in a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. To provide women and girls with equal access to education is sure will benefit all societies and the world’s humanity.
So, how do we best achieve gender equality?
There are a few bullet-points we can mention which would definitely help:
- Ensure that leadership-positions are shared 50/50
- Women into power
- Women into non-traditional jobs
These points are more relevant for industrialized countries. When it comes to women in developing countries, there are other steps in the process that are more important:
- Stop child marriage
- Gender sensitive education
- Stop the violence
- End sexual harassement
All of the actions mentioned above are comprehensive. Therefore a great start would be to change the attitude all across the world, which has stuck from the past; women are less capable of working, and should stay home and take care of the children.
And what can Norwegian teenagers do in order to make a change?
We should for starters make sure that there are no gender inequalities amongst our generation, as we are the next one to rule the world. Norway are one of the most gender equal countries in the world, and therefore we should try to spread our culture and our equal society by making a campaign. A change of people’s minds across the world must sure be a good start in fixing the challenge.
Education in 2017 should not only teach languages and maths, but also morals. Education should enlighten people, and therefore it can be a key in solving gender inequalities.
Education is fundamental for the development of a society. It gives us knowledge so we can learn how to use our resources and build a nation piece by piece. It creates jobs and provides us with important science and information. There are major differences between developed and developing countries, and education plays a huge part of this gap. The developing countries are far behind us when it comes to infrastructure, technology, leadership and many fundamental parts to building a developed country. This is probably caused by their lack of education opportunities. The reason we find goal number 4, quality education, as one of the most important sustainable development goals is because education is not only a solution for goal number 4 itself, education can also contribute in solving several of UN’s goals.
Education is of course extremely important for our personal development and success. First of all it is important for our health and happiness. When attending to school you take part of a society, gain social network and develop yourself as a wiser person. It provides you with a more secure future, with the possibility of getting proper jobs. Education also makes the world more peaceful, because we learn how to communicate and cooperate with other people, which is a fundamental for building a good leadership that listen to the people. And we become aware of our rights and responsibilities towards our society, which can prevent us from turning to illegal actions.
And let us not forget how fundamental education is for the economic growth within a nation. If we have the right knowledge we can produce more goods and services, become more productive and prevent unemployment. This is only a few of the advantages caused by education, and we can already see how it can affect almost every single goal on UN’s list. For instance; goal number 1 – no poverty, goal number 3 – good health and well-being, goal number 8 – decent work and economic growth, goal number 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure; goal number 11 – sustainable cities and communities, goal number 13 – climate action, and goal number 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions.
What can be done and what can we do to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity for quality education? Lack of education remains one of the biggest and most important obstacles to overcome, in rural areas, literacy and numeracy act as significant challenges. Quality education for all might also help improving upon other global challenges, such as eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and raise awareness and knowledge regarding the climate. Most governments are committed to address this problem, but not all of their intentions translate into effective results.
One of the things we can do in order to help this problem, is to for example donate money to organizations that already work on the issue. An example of a good organization is “Khula Education”, They work in South Africa, which is one of the places that struggle with this issue the most. Their slogan, “without education there is no hope, without hope there is no future”. There are plenty of other places to go as well if one is interested in donating money. In Norway students receive a free education and it is guaranteed for all. Imagine the possibilities that would emerge if everyone had the same opportunity for education.
Raising awareness of the awesome benefits of education is also a way to help. We can do that by joining voluntary groups like “education for all”. Voting for the appropriate political party in relation to economical aid for education in other countries is also a way to have an impact.
We have made large strides when it comes to providing quality education and gender equality, but we are still far from our ultimate goal. 57 million children still remain out of school, with more than half of these coming from sub-Saharan countries. And one third of developing countries are yet to achieve gender parity in primary education. If we want to achieve our SDGs we need to empower young women and lobby the government to provide free quality education for all, especially vulnerable and marginalised groups.