SIGBI Programme Director’s Blog February 2019

With the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63[1]) coming up 11-22 March 2019, several important UN anniversaries in 2020 and the move to Sustainable Development Goals corralled into 5Ps, now seems a good time to look at Prosperity. Why? Because the themes for CSW63 are:

  • Priority theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;
  • Review theme:Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of CSW60).

If you wish to find out more about what happens during the two weeks, there is a series of videos available[2].

Soroptimist International sends a statement on our behalf and a summary of this is available at links for more information. It has been submitted in partnership with five other women’s orgnisations.

It is important that we make the links between all the SDGs if we are to achieve gender equality (SDG5). However, social protection requires investment in people, protection of the planet and, of course, eradication of poverty through prosperity for all not the few.

I find it impossible to remember all 17 SDGs so the infographic[3] from UN Women is very helpful – not least because it picks out the areas of importance for the work we do. The SDGs in Prosperity are 7-11 but SDGs 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) have no gender specific targets. Why are these important? Women manage energy use in households, being responsible for preparing food in the home and collecting firewood, often from long distances away, so putting themselves at risk of violence. Only 30% of people working in science are women (SDG9) and this often means that women’s earnings are considerably less than men’s (SDG8). Add to this the lack of improved, safe sanitation facilities (SDG11, as well as SDG6) and the adverse effect of divorce on female poverty (SDG10) then it becomes obvious that we need to ‘deliver’ on all these SDGs.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was signed on 18 December 1979, making it 40 years old this year. During 2020 a number of other UN entities have significant anniversaries:

  1. The UN – 75 years;
  2. Economic & Social Council – 75 years;
  3. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – 25 years;
  4. UN Women arose out of the ashes of UNIFEM and other entities[4] – 20 years;
  5. Copenhagen – Global Compact on Climate Change – 10 years;
  6. Sustainable Development Goals – 5 years.

We need to plan for these opportunities to advance the wellbeing of women and girls, and thus their families.

Best wishes
Kay Richmond
Programme Director





Read previous blogs from Programme Director Kay Richmond: