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UN SDGs and Welfare of Women: Are they connected?

What are the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations has adopted?

The United Nations has adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for a better future, aiming to make the world a secure and safe place for all to peacefully live. Adopted in 2015, the SDGs are set to achieve the targets by 2030. With these goals, the United Nations General Assembly aims to give the voiceless a voice, the poor some basic amenities, the hungry and malnourished nourishment, and to everyone quality healthcare, clean environment, and fresh air to breathe in.

The benefit of all or is there a particular goal for the upliftment of the oppressed?

The SDGs that the UN has adopted aim to promote the welfare of all, but welfare is a far-fetched idea for some sections of society, let alone the promotion of it. These sections include women, especially those living in areas with a high level of inequality. The only solution to problems that the oppressed face is empowerment. How do we empower them? By giving them situation-specific facilities. Often, education is the only empowerment that fits the situation; it is rarely money or housing schemes. It is an investment that lasts for a lifetime and never fails to give returns.

Education is like a brightly burning torch in the darkness and fog of ignorance and injustice; the 4th and 5th SDGs, in my opinion, directly aim to provide female education. The 4th goal is concerned with Quality Education, and the 5th is concerned with Gender Equality. I believe that these goals are indispensable to each other; they complement each other and are intertwined. Without providing quality education to females, there can be no firm foundation for gender equality. Males have always been sanctioned as a privilege, and most of them have never been denied the right to education, at least not due to societal expectations. In developing and underdeveloped countries such as those in Asia and Africa, females have been expected by society always to be ready to serve the males, to be submissive to them, and to not focus on their advantages and gains, only those of their husbands’ fathers or other male figures. Therefore, to them, it is not essential to get educated and become independent. With these SDGs, the UN aims to break this very idea and stereotype. The UN thus has taken a commendable step in including these goals.

It pains me to see that the UN has to call these goals’ Sustainable Development Goals’ because this innate understanding is not necessary for women. Now to remove this scary, ugly notion, these goals had to be set. Fortunately, these goals are being taken seriously by the UN and developed countries and by developing countries, and change is gradually emerging. In India, there is a slogan “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, which translates to “Save the girl child and educate the girl child”, other initiatives such as Udaan, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, and National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education have also been taken to support the cause.

What will be the impact on other SDGs if one SDG is not followed?

The SDGs that are susceptible to being impacted by not educating girls are the 16th, concerned with peace, justice, human rights, and the 10th, which is concerned with reduced inequalities. Women’s rights are human rights. Education is a right that all humans have, and not giving women those rights will violate the sanctity of human rights! The 10th goal will also be broken because education is a tool to help level the ground for all. If women are deprived of education, there will be no leveled playing ground for all members of society. Seriously, good morning; women make up almost half of the population on Earth; denying them equal opportunities is a cardinal mistake!

I believe that the SDGs are for all those who exist on this planet, clean air and environment is a fundamental right of ALL, every human should be given food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. The bounties of nature should not be wasted, and so shouldn’t be the potential every human has. By aiming to give equal rights and opportunities to everyone, the UN will soon create a level playing ground for all, every human is a resource, and everyone has great potential. I appreciate the SDGs and hope that they are substantial in bringing about a much-needed change!

Arfa Imteyaz is a law fresher at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She is a Feminist with a keen interest in Theology, Human Rights, and International Criminal Law. She is a Content Writer at The Wall of Justice and aims to raise awareness about issues of concern through her write-ups.

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