Gender equality pushed in Asia Pacific
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - October 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Countries in Asia and the Pacific are being encouraged to accelerate progress on gender equality in order to reach ambitious goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In a joint report titled “Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: Baseline and Pathways for Transformative Change by 2030, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN Women highlighted four “transformative” policy areas that countries can focus on to promote equality for girls and women.

These are: promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights; reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work; ending violence against women and girls; and empowering women to cope with climate change and disaster risks.

“By investing in these areas, the region will not only improve the lives of women and girls, but also accelerate the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), given the strong synergies between gender equality and other development priorities,” said the report.

The report shows that while Asia and the Pacific has made progress in some areas of gender equality, there remains significant inequality for women and girls.

For instance, it cited one in two women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in the past 12 months.

Women and girls also continue to spend more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men or boys.

Progress on reducing maternal mortality rate has also been “uneven.”

The report also noted the lack of gender data to track the progress of equality in countries in Asia and the Pacific, with some lacking data on 36 out of the 85 gender-related indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

It thus underscored the urgency to improve the production and use of gender statistics for implementing and monitoring the SDGs at the country level.

“Data and evidence can bring a deeper understanding of how gender discrimination and power relations exclude women (or men) from certain rights, institutions, and privileges. Overcoming deeply entrenched gender inequalities would not just improve the lives of women and girls. It would transform the world, empowering everyone to realize their full potential and live a life of dignity,” said UN Women regional director for Asia and the Pacific Anna-Karin Jatfors.

“This publication provides invaluable evidence to support the effort to make gender equality and sustainable development a reality for all,” she added.

ADB said the report is the first comprehensive review of the status of women and girls in Asia and the Pacific under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, which highlights the remaining challenges facing women and girls and how improving their situation can help achieve the SDGs.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, achieving gender equality is both a stand-alone goal (Goal 5) and a priority across the 16 other social, economic, and environmental goals, such as ending poverty and ensuring education for all.

ADB said the comprehensive review of the available data to track progress on the status of women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region shows that there is a strong connection between achieving gender equality and achieving Agenda 2030.

“Gender equality must be addressed in its own right and as a catalyst of progress across the SDGs,” said ADB vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development  Bambang Susantono.

“The findings and recommendations in the report provide an opportunity to overcome deeply entrenched gender inequality through transformative change and support progress towards sustainable development in all dimensions: economic, social, and environmental,” he added.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ( GENDER EQUALITY
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