Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Empowering all women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Since 2000 many remarkable successes are noticed in improving gender equality across the globe. For example, 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.Despite improvements, full gender equality remains unreached. There are still many barriers and challenges in achieving the end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere. Encouraging more women leaders across all regions, and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health remain important targets to make progress toward this goal. However, not only these actions will contribute to realize the goal to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, but others too, including these with the aim to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (SDG 3 – Good health and well-being). Gender powerfully shapes all aspects of health and wellbeing, and interacts with many social determinants of health. Experience and evidence show us that gender inequalities often affect the ability of women and young girls to access care and other services. Gender inequality exists both within and outside the health system and is manifested as poor access to health resources, discrimination, sexual abuse and violence. Continous and systemic efforts to prevent child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, and improve access to education and sexual and reproductive health services are needed to ensure gender equality and address gender differences in health.