Participants capitalised on the positive lessons learnt from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and identified areas of improvement for the post-2015 agenda.
On the positive side for example, it was mentioned that MDG3 was at the heart of poverty reduction strategies and therefore helped to get the dialogue started on gender equality issues - for example we have seen very good results in terms of girls’ education, especially at primary level. Many participants agreed that having a standalone goal on gender equality as well as comprehensive mainstreaming of gender equality across all of the goals was the best way to achieve visibility in the post-2015 framework. This should be accompanied by concise and strategic language around the goals as well as key partnerships. Also, goals should reconcile the human rights based approach with the development practical approach – so that, through the intrinsic value of gender equality and women’s empowerment, we can reaffirm policy commitment and funding and continue to rally gender equality advocates.
In terms of what could be improved, it was mentioned that there should be more focus at sub-national level, in particular to address the needs of specific populations such as ethnic minorities. On content, it was agreed that MDG3 was too narrow and there were serious omissions, such as gender-based violence for example. Some priority areas outlined for post 2015 included women’s choices and capabilities, violence against women and women’s participation in the household, including unpaid work and decision-making in both the public and private spheres.
Overall, there was agreement that we need to address the structural drivers of gender inequality (such as violence against women, early marriage, etc.) now (why wait until 2015 when we can act now?); use what worked as “pivot points”, as some can have a multiplier effect and can help in prioritising the actions needed; and further improve data collection, reporting as well as quality and coverage.
What are your experiences in your country? Which areas of the MDGs can we build upon and where can we be transformative or innovative?