At the beginning of this millennium, UN Member States agreed to achieve significant results in terms of poverty, education, health and the environment by 2015. Ireen Dubel, ??women’s rights specialist at Hivos, gave her own progress report on Millennium Development Goal 3: Men and women have the same rights.
According to Dubel, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have not been able to reduce discrimination against women. “MDG 3 – Men and women have equal rights – and MDG 5, reducing maternal mortality – is where the least progress has been made,” said Dubel.
Going to school
One of the aims of MDG 3 is that as many girls as boys go to school in 2015: in primary, secondary and higher education. Although progress has certainly been made in this area, according to Dubel about 30 percent of children do not finish primary school. “Progress here has stagnated since 2007; this has to do in part with the reduction in development assistance and the changing priorities of donor countries”.
MDG 3 also calls for more women to be employed outside the agricultural sector. “Agriculture is one of the lowest paid sectors. Especially in Africa, the number of women working in agriculture is very high,” says Dubel. “In fact, the percentage of women working in areas other than agriculture has grown only 10 percent over the past fourteen years. That in itself is progress, of course, but totally inadequate.”
Dubel also deplores the fact that no mention is made of violence against women within the current Millennium Development Goals. “That’s a missed opportunity, as 1 in 3 women in the world are victims of gender-based violence at some time in their lives.” But Dubel says the end of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 offers a renewed opportunity to put violence against women on the post-2015 international agenda.