African countries rank low in the new SDG Gender Index

A new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Gender Index released by Equal Measures 2030 show that Niger, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad in Africa have some of the lowest measures to achieving gender equality than anywhere in the world. All these countries have all faced conflict and fragility in recent years.

The SDG Gender Index, launched at the Women Deliver Conference 2019 is the most comprehensive tool available to measure the state of gender equality aligned to the SDGs.

The index, covering 14 of the 17 SDGs, measures countries on 51 issues ranging from health, gender-based violence, climate change, decent work and others.

According to SDG Gender Index, 1.4 billion girls and women living in countries that get a “very poor” failing grade on gender equality.

“As advocates for gender equality in Africa, we can no longer operate on presumptions and approximations. Gaps of inequalities must be marked, counted and recorded so that the trail of implementation is clear and decision-makers are held to account.

The SDG Gender Index will help to ensure that Africa’s girls and women are counted and accounted for,” said Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET).

The global average score of the 129 countries—which represents 95% of the world’s girls and women— is 65.7 out of 100 (“poor” in the index scoring system). No one country is the world’s best performer—or even among the world’s top ten performers—across all goals or all issues.

“This report should serve as a wakeup call to the world. We won’t meet the SDGs with 40% of girls and women living in countries that are failing on gender equality,” said Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“But the SDG Gender Index also shows that progress is possible. Many countries with the most limited resources are making huge strides in removing the barriers for girls and women across economies, politics and society – demonstrating that when it comes to gender equality, governments shouldn’t have excuses for inaction.”

In 2015, world leaders from all countries committed to achieving gender equality by 2030 for every girl and every woman when they signed on to the ambitious goals and targets of the SDGs.

Overall, the world is furthest behind on gender equality issues related to public finance and better gender data (SDG 17), climate change (SDG 13), gender equality in industry and innovation (SDG 9) and – worryingly – the standalone ‘gender equality’ goal (SDG 5). Denmark tops the index, followed closely by Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands.

“With just 11 years to go, our index finds that not a single one of the 129 countries is fully transforming their laws, policies or public budget decisions on the scale needed to reach gender equality by 2030. We are failing to deliver on the promises of gender equality for literally billions of girls and women,” said Alison Holder, Director of Equal Measures 2030.

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