How empowering girls and women can change the world

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

No country has achieved complete gender equality. Girls and women in every corner of the world continue to face injustices, simply because of their gender. So, what makes this year and the years to come any different? We’re armed with 17 Global Goals to change the world.

We have a chance to make history – there has never been a greater global commitment to gender equality than right now. And it’s about time!

Goals Grid

The time for change is now

These 17 Global Goals, aka the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aim to achieve three big things by 2030: end extreme poverty, combat climate change and fight injustices and inequalities. With 193 countries committed to the SDGs, the world is ready to create lasting, real change!

Goal 5 is specifically targeted at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Having a standalone goal to end gender inequality is the first, united global effort to eliminate practices and traditions, like child marriage and female genital mutilation, gender-based violence, while also challenging the mindsets that fuel discrimination.

But, tackling the inequalities girls and women face doesn’t end with that one goal. The other 16 goals can’t be achieved without empowering everyone – girls, boys, men and women – to reach their full potential!

Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 1 – No poverty

Ending poverty

Ending extreme poverty (measured as living on less than $1.25 USD a day) is possible. The rates of extreme poverty have already been reduced by half since 1990, and ensuring women have equal rights to education, land, economic and financial opportunities can help lift even more people, families and communities out of poverty. After all, for every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 10 to 20%!

A young woman holding freshly picked crops from her farm

20-year-old Ana’s one of over 3,000 women in Bolivia who received agricultural training with Plan International’s support. Now, her thriving farm benefits her family and community.

Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 2 – Zero hunger

Zero hunger

Every year 3 million children die from malnutrition. And girls are 2x as likely to suffer from malnutrition as boys. As a result of outdated beliefs that value sons over daughters, girls in developing countries are often the last to eat – which can even mean eating nothing at all. Challenging these norms, and bringing girls and women to the table (literally and figuratively) with opportunities to become food producers, like farmers and fishers, will mean fewer people go hungry, and a more sustainable food system.

Two girls eating at school.

Plan International’s school feeding project in Cambodia is keeping 13-year-old Sokhat well fed AND in school!

Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 3 – Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives

While the global rates of child and maternal mortality have slowly been decreasing, approximately 800 women still die every day as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth – 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. Empowering women with health information, educating youth on sexual and reproductive health, ensuring access to healthcare is within reach, and engaging men in maternal, newborn and child health, are all critical ways to curb this trend and save lives.

A woman holding a baby.

With a strong commitment to improving maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries around the world, Plan International is determined to help mothers and children survive and thrive.

Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 4 – Quality education

Education for all

Education is every child’s right. And yet, more than 62 million girls are missing from classrooms around the world. Pervasive gender inequalities create barriers that prevent girls from achieving the education they deserve. From child marriage, to violence at school, to the lack of separate toilets, taking action to break down these challenges can ensure millions of girls not only go, but stay, in school!

A girl writing in a notebook in class.

7-year-old Jenny is where she belongs – in school!

Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 8 – Economic growth

Economic growth

Right now, gender inequality is keeping women around the world from contributing to their communities and economies in the fullest and most productive ways. Improving equal access to land ownership, safe and decent work, as well as diminishing the imbalance in power relations and pay, economies can benefit from the skills, talents and potential of women!

A group of business women, standing outside their shop.

These women launched their own peanut butter business in Zimbabwe with Plan International’s help, gaining economic empowerment to support their families and community!

Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions

Peaceful and just communities

Girls’ and women’s rights are human rights. Globally, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. Upholding girls’ and women’s right to safety and protection means reducing all forms of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other abuses. A just world for everyone is violence-free.

Girls holding a sign that reads, “Stop violence against child and women”.

Gender-based violence is unfortunately an issue everywhere. Creating a just world for all means protecting girls’ and women’s right to safety and protection.

Gender inequality leaves half the population behind. To move forward and fuel the success of every goal means the empowerment of girls and women. Together, we can change the world for girls and women.

Our goals, our future

The Global Goals are OUR goals – these goals impact each and every single one of us. We all have a role to play to change the world for the better. By raising awareness about these goals and holding our governments accountable, we really can make a difference. Learn more and take action today!