In August 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the agenda that will guide global development priorities until 2030. The landmark document, Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was the result of a three-year process which included the most extensive consultations ever led at the UN.
Despite resistance from some states, some success for women’s rights came in the form of a stand-alone goal to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (Goal 5).
The task now is to lay out the steps that must be taken to implement this Agenda. At this juncture, one of the most significant impediments to achieving the transformation envisioned by the SDGs is the large presence and growing strength of religious fundamentalisms. Religious fundamentalisms, intersecting with 4 other structural factors, are responsible for the degradation of human rights standards, the rollback of women’s rights, the entrenchment of discrimination, and a rise in violence and insecurity.
The following policy brief outlines recommendations that need to be taken to address religious fundamentalism as a barrier to acheiving the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5 on gender equality.