Advancing Gender Equality with SDG 5

Happy Pride Month from the ENSO team! 

Each month, we have been looking closely into one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This month, we want to zoom in on Goal 5: Gender Equality. Pride Month is a perfect time to learn more about Goal 5, as we need to consider all genders and gender expressions when taking action.

If you want to learn more about the SDGs in general, check out our blog: How can the Sustainable Development Goals Help Improve Your Business!

What is Goal 5?

Goal 5 states a commitment to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Within this goal, there are nine targets, each with their own indicators to help us understand progress towards achieving Goal 5. 

According to the UN, a world where Goal 5 was achieved would:

  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, in both the public and private spheres
  • Eliminate all harmful practices that impact women and girls
  • Recognise the value of unpaid care and domestic work through public services, infrastructure, and social protection policies
  • Promote shared responsibility within the household and family
  • Ensure full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership for women
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources
  • Use technology to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen policies and legislation for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment 

In shorter terms, Goal 5 aims to build a society in which women and girls have the same rights and opportunities as men, while not having to worry about experiencing violence or other unsafe practices. 

Who Does Goal 5 Leave Behind?

Goal 5 is incredibly important. Advancing equality and empowerment for women and girls is vital to multiple other SDGs, including climate action, responsible consumption and production, and decent work and economic growth. However, this goal does leave out a lot of individuals that we also need to include in our gender equality work. 

This goal is based on the idea of the gender binary – the idea that there are two distinct genders, male and female. However, we know that there are a lot of individuals that identify outside of this binary! 

Because of this, we should adopt a broader definition of gender equality when taking action to advance Goal 5. We need to work for equal opportunities, safe and inclusive private and public spaces, representation in leadership, and empowerment for people of all genders. 

In the remainder of this blog, we will still refer to Goal 5, but remember that we are including all genders! 

How Can Your Business Help Achieve Goal 5: Gender Equality?

In this section, we will go through some concrete actions that you can take as a business to help advance Goal 5 and promote the inclusion and wellbeing of individuals of all genders. Accordingly, we will discuss the following actions:

  1. Implementing a Diversity & Inclusion policy
  2. Including pronouns in email signatures and employee information
  3. Offering diversity & inclusion trainings for team members
  4. Hosting team town halls

Let’s talk about five ways your business can help achieve Goal 5: Gender Equality. 

  1. Implementing a Diversity & Inclusion Policy

Show your commitment to diversity and inclusion by putting in place a formal, written policy. The purpose of this policy is to commit to providing equality and fairness to all in our employment and not provide less favourable facilities or treatment to any individual for any reason. 

Therefore, to specifically advance Goal 5 through your Diversity & Inclusion policy, make sure to include a section about gender equality. Remember, your commitment to gender equality should include individuals of all gender identities and expressions! Add information about any specific targets or initiatives your business has in place to promote equality. 

  1. Including Pronouns in Email Signatures and Employee Information

One very simple, but important, action that you can take to promote inclusivity is including pronouns in email signatures, employee information, and other places where names may be displayed. This allows people of all gender identities to safely share their preferred pronouns without being singled out. If all team members are sharing their pronouns, you are already creating a more inclusive environment! All it takes is a quick addition to make more people feel welcome. 

  1. Offering Diversity & Inclusion Training for Team Members

Education is a great way to help create a more inclusive workplace. Fill knowledge gaps by offering diversity & inclusion training to your team members. This can help them to learn more about gender identity, how to foster productive discussions and safe working environments, and provide a safe space to ask questions about how to be an ally. Therefore, we can all always take the opportunity to learn more in order to improve our diversity and inclusion practices, advancing Goal 5 along the way. 

  1. Hosting Team Town Halls

Your greatest resource in how to best support and empower your team members are the individuals themselves! Host team town halls to discuss diversity and inclusion and how to advance gender equality within your own operation. Bringing together different perspectives, ideas, and experiences will help you to craft the best strategy to promote gender equality possible. 

Make sure to have regular town halls to check in on progress and how team members are feeling. New opportunities may arise or you may find that certain actions are not having the positive impact you intended. Keep coming back to your team to ensure the best possible outcomes. 

Businesses that support gender equality foster employee wellbeing and help to create working environments that promote creativity and innovation. 

A diverse working environment is an incredibly positive thing for your business. The different experiences, knowledge bases, and opinions will foster innovation and creativity. Therefore, making sure everyone feels included and welcome not only advances Goal 5, but will help with employee satisfaction and retention. 

Remember, achieving gender equality isn’t easy. It will take active listening and changes on the part of your business but the results will be worth it!  

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