Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals: Moving Beyond Women as a 'Quick Fix' for Development


Denney, J. Michael. 2015. "Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals: Moving Beyond Women as a 'Quick Fix' for Development." Governance and Sustainability Issue Brief Series: Brief II. Center for Governance and Sustainability. University of Massachusetts Boston.

Author: J. Michael Denney


In September 2015, the international community will sign on to a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs are applicable to all states, developing and developed alike, and are the result of a political process led by an Open Working Group comprising 70 member states in consultation with other stakeholders. This brief concerns MDG 3, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and the corresponding proposed SDG 5, Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls. All information about SDG 5 comes from the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals. 
In the first part, the author presents an analytical framework for evaluating whether the goals for female empowerment and gender equality attain the desired result. Next, the framework is applied to the targets for the proposed SDG 5. Finally, the author argues that the international community should embrace goals, targets, and indicators that advance gender equality for the sake of equality itself, rather than as a quick fix for economic underdevelopment.


Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Year: 2015

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