Less than 1,000 Days to achieve the MDGs – Take Action!


MDGs-1000-Days-Card-320With 1,000 Days to achieve the MDGs, efforts have to accelerate action and scale up what works – with contributions from Governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector. Focusing on reducing inequalities on many fronts – such as improving food security, maternal health, water and sanitation, rural development, environmental sustainability and responses to climate change – is critical at this juncture.

Evidence shows that Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a cornerstone to accelerating and sustaining MDG progress and furthering all the Goals.

According to the World Bank, ensuring equal access for women and girls to education, nutrition, basic services, health care, employment, economic opportunities and decision-making at all levels has proven to be one of the most powerful drivers of progress across all the Goals.


Find out more about how Women and Girls are faring in progress towards each of these goals, and UN Women efforts towards the MDGs.

MDG 1 – Targets include:

  • Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day
  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
  • Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Where are we?

According to the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report, estimates indicate that the global poverty rate fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. If these results are confirmed, the first target of the MDGs—cutting the extreme poverty rate to half its 1990 level—will have been achieved at the global level well ahead of 2015.

Extreme poverty is also falling in every region.

UN Women’s efforts:

MDG1Women-men-vulnerable-employment-MDGs2012UN Women works to support women’s fundamental role in food security, as the cornerstones of food production and utilization. With more equitable distribution of assets, such as credit, improved seeds and fertilizer, and information and technology, women can achieve significantly higher agricultural productivity.

UN Women also works to eliminate legal restrictions to women’s economic empowerment (such as land and inheritance rights, rights to access credit, ensuring safer migration, etc.) in order to address feminized poverty.

Efforts focus on guaranteeing equal social protection and employment rights for all, whether in the formal or informal economy. UN Women also helps expand paid work opportunities for women, which often ushers shifts in gender relations, greater sense of self-worth and societal respect, a say in critical life choices such as postponing the age of marriage, a greater role in household decision-making and ability to speak out against abuse.


Timorese-farmer1Veronica Casimira, a Timorese farmer, arrives at the community meeting with freshly-picked bananas I in a a basket on top of her head. She is met by many friends, most from the self-help group that she started three years ago.

Her friends tease her, calling her Mana Abut, which means root or core in Banuk, the local dialect in the village of Memo in the western region of Timor-Leste. This is appropriate, as she has encouraged many other women to start their own businesses and self-help groups. “I am working like a slave, eating like a king,” she says. These self-help groups, collectives of women and men who work together in agriculture, raise livestock, fish, and make bricks for infrastructural development, have changed the financial situation and gender division of labour in many communities in the village of Memo in Timor-Leste. Memo rests in the mountainous regions of one of the most cash-poor areas of Timor-Leste. This area shares a border with Indonesia. Levels of human trafficking in the border areas have been decreasing recently, but this part of the country was once considered the hub for trafficking and petty crime.

The lives of Casimira and other self-help group members used to be very different. As one woman stated “Many of us were just farming for ourselves and couldn’t get enough food to feed our children. It was impossible to grow enough vegetables and rice all on our own, and take care of the kids and all of our other household work.”

All group members used to work independently in agriculture, but now work together to earn more money as their efforts combined actually produce more food and takes less time so they can take care of their personal needs at home as well.

The self-help group that Casimira started originally had 42 members, with the programme undertaking business management courses, life-skills training and other interventions to promote women’s financial independence.

After undergoing a training of trainers course on Gender and Conflict Prevention, taught by a local civil society organization Casimira decided to train other women in starting their own groups to promote independence and income generation. Most self-help groups also serve as a refuge for survivors of domestic violence, widows and women heads of households.

Over the last five years, the self-help groups are advanced through UN Women’s “From Communities to Global Security Institutions: Engaging Women in Building Peace and Security Programmes” — a programme which is supported by the U.K’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Casimira spends a lot of time mentoring other self-help groups and is also one of the few women representatives in the village council. She advocates for women to work in local government as a chance for them to raise the profiles of their self-held groups in the community and to work on their peace building and mediation skills. Casimira also represents the district at national conferences and workshops, participates in all community-based events and is a voice for rural women at high-level functions.

She recently returned from the Philippines, where she was not only greeted by the community as one of the most successful and influential women in agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region, and also received agricultural training, which will enable her to contribute further in her community. It was a coup for a woman to have this reception, even more so for a woman from a very remote village in Timor-Leste.

Speaking about her work and what she wants to achieve, she says;

“I want to be a model for other women”.


Target: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

MDG2Where are we?

Enrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more children than ever are attending primary school. But even as countries with the toughest challenges have advanced, progress on primary school enrollment has slowed since 2004, dimming hopes for achieving universal primary education by 2015.

MDG2-gender-gaps-in-schoolingBut gender gaps persist. Girls represent 53 per cent of the primary-age out-of-school population, slightly down from 58 per cent in 1999. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest rate of girls out of primary school, i.e., 26 per cent. And other regions with better overall enrolment have wide gender gaps as well. In Southern Asia, Western Asia and Northern Africa, girls account for 55, 65 and 79 per cent respectively of the total share of primary-age out-of-school children.
UN Women’s efforts:

UN Women focuses Action on Girls’ school completion rates and improving school conditions for girls, i.e. the environment that makes it conducive for girls to attend schools. From making roads and public transport safer through the Safe Cities Initiative, to addressing the lack of female teachers as role models, to the lack of separate sanitation facilities, and school fees continuing to be deciding factors for whether a girl goes to school, UN Women works to focus on these issues.

Reports show mothers with at least a few years of formal education are considerably more likely to send their children to school. UN Women works to advance women’s empowerment through education and economic opportunities, which facilitate greater decision-making by women in their household, including the decision to send children to school. UN Women also works on campaigns that address attitudes and behaviors, including concerns about female modesty, safety, and the lack of economic returns to girls’ education, factors which often hamper girls’ school attendance.



MDG3This the overarching gender equality goal, which encompasses parity in education, political participation, and economic empowerment

Target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Indicators: These include the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector and the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.

Where are we?

MDG3-graph-representation-in-parliamentsGender parity in primary schooling worldwide has officially been achieved.

The ratio between the enrolment rate of girls and that of boys grew from 91 in 1999 to 97 in 2010, for all developing regions (97 falls within the 3-point margin of 100 per cent, the accepted measure for parity).

Women’s share of paid employment outside the agricultural sector has increased slowly from 35 to 40 per cent between 1990 and 2010. But women still enter the labour market on an unequal basis to men, even after accounting for educational background and skills. Globally, women occupy only 25 per cent of senior management positions.

Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report Gender Chart 2012

Women account for approximately 20 per cent of all parliamentarians worldwide and progress towards equal representation is slow. At the pace witnessed during the last 15 years, it will take nearly 40 years to reach the parity zone in parliaments.

UN Women’s efforts:
UN Women works with partners to promote the education of girls and women and overcome barriers to schooling for girls.

Advancing women’s political participation and leadership and economic empowerment are two of the central goals of UN Women. This ranges from initiatives to get more women on the ballot as well as getting more women to the ballot. Boosting proportional representation to increasing the number of women in politics, to more transparent political party selection, training of female candidates and getting more women to cast their votes, are part of the efforts.

In countries around the world, women in politics are strengthening the credibility of democracies through their participation, reinvigorating political accountability, and contributing to improved efficiency in policymaking through bringing their diverse perspectives. In India for instance, in areas with female-led local councils the number of drinking water projects was 62 per cent higher than in those with male-led councils, while in Norway, evidence shows a direct relationship between the number of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage they enacted.

UN Women works to enact and implement equal economic rights for all. Legislation on equal pay for equal work, better access to employment opportunities, equality in hiring and promotions, leave and unemployment benefits, freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, and other critical rights are increasingly being legislated. But serous lag in implementation of the laws continues to constrain women’s equality and empowerment.

On the ground: Young Uruguayan women aim to boost their role in politics
In Uruguay, a 2009 law guarantees at least 30 per cent of candidates on electoral lists are women. To prepare for national elections next year, UN Women has been training a group of 25 young leaders from four political parties through tutorials. Read more>>


Speak Your Mind


Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care