World over, contextual limitations on gender equality has been visible historically. Achieving gender equality is an important prerequisite to demonstrate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Women and girls globally have limited access to financial and physical resources, employment, and freedom from violence. Access to information and technology, avenues for social and political participation are not gender specific. In addition, women not having control over their sexual and reproductive health is a limiting factor in the shift towards women empowerment. Recognising the criticality of gender equality, the Sustainable Development Goal 5 is centred on women emerging as equally invested stakeholders in our development paradigm.
In the Indian context, Prime Minister Modi has expressed a deep commitment towards reaching country-specific SDG targets, mandating the NITI Aayog as the nodal agency responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring outcomes. India has only 65% female literacy levels compared to 80% of men. While women comprise 48% of the population, only 25% of them are in the workforce. In terms of political participation, while 11% women hold Lok Sabha seats, 46% have representation in the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI). Violence against women remains to be widely prevalent in the country. Against this backdrop, the Indian government has launched landmark gender specific schemes such as the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ focused on providing equitable education opportunities for the girl child. In addition, skill training programmes translating into sustainable employment options have also been envisioned through the Skill India Mission and STEP initiatives. The SDG framework calls for greater levels of coordinated involvement from the Governments, private sector, not-for-profits and communities, as drivers and enablers of societal change, through an aggregated championing for gender equality.
UNGCNI’s 1 Gender Equality Summit in India resonates the global commitment towards developing a strong India Roadmap towards Gender Equality. The Summit provides for a national platform to discuss our collective responsibility and exploring pathways towards gender inclusive outcomes. The Summit, aligned with the principles of the Sustainable Development frameworks calls for greater levels of coordinated involvement from the Governments, Private Sector, not-for-profitsand communities, as drivers and enablers of societal change, through an aggregated championing for gender equality. The SDG 5 has specific targets which will form a key part of the summit’s agenda. The theme of the Summit “Gender Equality – A key differentiator for sustainable development ”