September 19, 2018

Political will, financial investment and better data critical to achieve lasting change for girls and women

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As women foreign ministers meet this week in Canada and reaffirm the global commitment to achieving gender equality, global partnership Equal Measures 2030 (EM2030) launches a new tool to measure gender equality across the issues covered in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The EM2030 SDG Gender Index provides a comprehensive measure of overall progress towards gender equality that is aligned to the SDGs. The Index’s countries of focus for 2018 – Colombia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Senegal – demonstrate that the world’s most pressing challenges have a disproportionate impact on girls and women.

“If we look at gender equality across all the SDGs, there is huge variation in country performance. None of the six countries we studied were leaders on every SDG and every country has major gender equality challenges they are grappling with. This is why we need a new index to measure and track performance,” says Alison Holder, Director of EM2030.

The six countries covered in the 2018 pilot SDG Gender Index represent 22% of the world’s population of girls and women and by 2030 will be home to nearly 1 billion girls and women. The progress of these countries toward achieving the SDGs is critical to global development.

“In 2015, 193 countries pledged to end gender inequality by 2030. Three years in, only a handful of countries are making the policy, legal and budgetary changes that are required. The world needs to speed up now – if we don’t, we’ll leave massive economic benefits on the table and miss an opportunity to build the world we want,” says Gayle Smith, President and CEO of the ONE Campaign.

This year, the SDG Gender Index tracks gender equality progress for six countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The full Index will launch in 2019, covering as many countries worldwide as possible.

The SDG Gender Index, housed on a digital Gender Advocates Data Hub, also showcases stories, tools as well as country- and issue-specific resources to provide a more holistic approach to measuring and understanding gender equality.

In addition to covering education, health, economic empowerment and other issues, the SDG Gender Index measures issues such as climate change, public finance and whether national governments have women represented in the highest political positions, including Foreign Minister. Three of the six countries covered by the Index have women as Foreign Ministers, but globally only 13% of countries do.

Developed in partnership with civil society and the private sector, the SDG Gender Index responds to the demands articulated by individuals advocating for gender equality in their countries.

This year, EM2030 and research firm Ipsos Mori heard from more than 600 gender advocates from nearly 50 countries on gender equality progress, data challenges and the SDGs.

Results of the survey show that 89% agree that achieving the SDGs for girls and women will not be possible without the right data. 91% of the advocates surveyed believed that collecting data on issues that affect girls and women is not a priority for governments.

“It is imperative that we get robust data on gender to those who need it, when they need it, and in a form they can use for maximum impact,” says Holder.

“The SDGs provide a powerful framework to uproot the entrenched obstacles faced by girls and women, using data as a guide for collaboration and innovation,” says Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition.

“But, as advocates in our 50-nation survey indicate, unless we can thoroughly track meaningful actions to deliver gender equality and hold governments to account, the SDGs will remain an elusive promise for girls and women,” says Girard.

As EM2030 updates the SDG Gender Index between now and 2030 and tracks the gender equality commitments of the SDGs, we hope to see more women holding the post of Foreign Minister as well as marked progress on the Index for all countries, and for all girls and women.


About Equal Measures 2030
Equal Measures 2030 is a global civil society and private sector led partnership with the mission of fueling progress towards gender equality by making sure girls’ and women’s movements, advocates and decision makers have easy-to-use data and evidence to guide efforts to reach the Global Goals by 2030 and leave no one behind.

Equal Measures 2030 partners include the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Data2X, the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), KPMG International, ONE Campaign, Plan International and Women Deliver.


Notes for the Editor:

  • The EM2030 SDG Gender Index is unique in the breadth of its approach and analysis, and in its development by a partnership that spans civil society and the private sector with a presence in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. It is also unique in being driven in part by the needs for data expressed by policymakers and gender equality advocates.
  • The EM2030 Global Advocates Survey 2018, carried out by research firm Ipsos Mori, attracted responses from 613 gender advocates around the world who shared their views on progress towards gender equality, how they feel about current data sources and the issues they think should be prioritized in the push for better and more accessible data to meet the SDGs for girls and women.
  • The first iteration of the SDG Gender Index covers 12 SDGs and six countries. The full Index will launch in 2019, covering as many countries worldwide as possible.


Key Findings:

EM2030 and Ipsos Mori Advocates Survey Results (613 advocates from nearly 50 countries)

  • 91% of the advocates surveyed believed that collecting data on issues that affect girls and women is not a priority for governments.
  • 89% of advocates agree that achieving the SDGs for girls and women will not be possible without the right data.
  • 85% said that government data on gender equality are incomplete.
  • 58% marked gender-based violence as a top three gender equality priority issue.
  • 9% chose climate change as a top three gender equality policy issue.
  • Just 7% of advocates surveyed identified tax and public spending as one of their top three high-priority gender equality issues.

EM2030 SDG Gender Index Indicators (selection only):
*data sources available in our global report:

  • Percentage of women ages 15+ who report that they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they live
    • Colombia (36%), El Salvador (43%), India (69%), Indonesia (73%), Kenya (54%), Senegal (40%)
  • Percentage of women who agree that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances
    • Colombia (3%), El Salvador (8%), India (45%), Indonesia (35%), Kenya (42%), Senegal (49%)
  • Proportion of the poorest quintile of the population covered by social assistance programs
    • Colombia (81%), El Salvador (71%), India (27%), Indonesia (76%), Kenya (34%), Senegal (5%)
  • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments
    • Colombia (19%), El Salvador (32%), India (12%), Indonesia (20%), Kenya (22%), Senegal (42%)


Jessica Lomelin, Head of Media and Communications
Equal Measures 2030; (+1) 206-941-4959

Photo: Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch