SDG 5 Background Note - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


SDG 5 Background Note

Country: Arab region

Publication Type: Information material

Cluster: 2030 Agenda and SDG Coordination

Focus Area: 2030 Agenda

Initiatives: Arab Forum for Sustainable Development

SDGs: Goal 5: Gender Equality, Agenda 2030

Keywords: Covid-19, Arab countries, Gender equality

SDG 5 Background Note

March 2021

Arab countries have made measurable progress in increasing women and girls’ access to health services and education (SDGs 3 and 4). Advancements in women’s political participation have also been evident during the past five years, yet insufficient to achieve full gender parity and the implementation of fundamental rights. Barriers to gender equality, including discriminatory laws and legal practices and gender-based social and cultural norms, remain entrenched (SDGs 10 and 16). Women’s economic participation is particularly lagging, especially among young women (SDGs 1 and 8). As a result, women often face constraints on their independence and full human rights, including playing an active role in decision-making at home and in the public sphere. Women also face a greater risk of food insecurity and malnutrition (SDG 2), especially in countries affected by conflicts and protracted crises.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls has been profound, with growing evidence highlighting a further increase in the vulnerability of women’s employment and in violence against women. Women’s enjoyment of their fundamental rights, including the right to equitable participation and leadership in public life, is critical to achieving SDG 5 and all other SDGs by 2030.

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