The SDO and World Population Day

In focus – gender and sustainability

World Population Day will take place on Saturday 11 July, and this year's theme will be the unmet goals of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development – where governments recognised that reproductive health and gender equality were essential for achieving sustainable development.

To mark World Population Day, the Sustainable Development Observatory (SDO) has decided to highlight the theme of gender equality and its links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The EESC believes that sustainable development must not be an elitist project, and should prioritise people with a people-centred approach.

SDG 5 – Gender Equality

SDG 5 aims at achieving gender equality by ending all forms of discrimination, violence, and any harmful practices against women and girls in the public and private spheres.

SDG 5 calls for:

  • equal rights; 
  • recognition and value of unpaid care and domestic work;
  • access to economic and natural resources, technology, basic and financial services, and property; 
  • effective participation and equal leadership opportunities for women.

The adoption of sound policies and legislation to promote gender equality are seen as essential for eliminating gender discrimination and fostering women’s empowerment.

EU regressing on SDG 5 – gender equality

According to the most recent Eurostat 2020 Monitoring Report on the SDGs, SDG 5 "Gender equality" is the only Goal where the EU has moved away from sustainable development objectives. Women are still employed and paid less even though they are better educated than men. Much more needs to be done to meet the SDG 5 and many other SDGs to ensure that no group is left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating that just like in the case of the climate and environmental crisis, which predates COVID, vulnerable and marginalised groups suffer the worst consequences of unsustainable policies. The EESC has called for the transition to a sustainable future to be just and leave no households, communities, regions, sectors and minorities behind.

Gender inequality in graphs - EU27

For more graphs, or to compare your country's progress, please visit the Eurostat - Gender equality webpage.

Source: Eurostat

Work organisation