Voice to Action: Advancing Gender Equality in the SDGs


Today, the globe is focusing on the Sustainable Development Agenda that was officially adopted by 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015 and is aimed at transforming the world through its 17 goals and 169 targets. Though not legally binding, the SDGs represent a political commitment to development by all UN member states. With the mantra “Leave No one Behind”, it is hoped that this universal integrated and transformative agenda will spur actions that will end poverty and build a more sustainable world during the next 15 years. Women comprise more than 51% of the world’s population and without them sustainable development cannot be achieved. Inevitably therefore, women have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the achievement of Agenda 2030. One of the challenges the MDGs faced was their inability to tackle the deeply rooted inequalities and power dynamics that continue to relegate women to the periphery. From the MDG era, it emerged that 52 of the 143 countries that had committed to gender equality did not make provision for it in their constitutions even by 2014. The SDGs come with a “breath of fresh air” having been developed in a more participatory manner with gender equality included not only as a standalone goal but interwoven throughout the SDGs. The SDGs therefore provide an opportunity for women and girls to position themselves as key actors in influencing prioritization of their issues in the various implementation phases of the goals. It is important to note that opportunities available for women have not yet brought them to the level of parity in the socio-economic and political spheres which calls for women to collectively engage governments so as to strengthen accountability, inclusiveness, and promote participation in development processes by 2030.

The scope and ambition of the SDGs indicate that governments alone cannot achieve this agenda. Through the Uganda Gender Consortium on SDGs (UGCS), the women of Uganda are collectively determined to steer strong and strategic engagement with various stakeholders to ensure that the gender targets in the SDGs are met and that the goals speak to the majority of the women of Uganda who have been left behind. FOWODE believes that sustained focus and engagement on national, regional, and international gender equality commitments including those contained in the 17 sustainable development goals by the government, civil society, private sector and the citizenry will strongly enhance accountability by the government and culminate into the transformation of the lives of women and girls.

Enjoy “Voice to Action” and be part of our journey up to 2030 so that “No woman or girl is left behind”.