Post-2015, the development world must tackle gender inequality

Women are central to any ambitions for a post-2015 economic transformation, says ActionAid

Wednesday, 30th January 2013. As David Cameron prepares to meet with his fellow post-2015 High Level Panel members in Monrovia this week, anti-poverty charity ActionAid calls for a clear commitment to put women front and centre of the post-2015 agenda.

The High Level Panel is considering options for setting new development goals to follow the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. In May, the Panel is to present its recommendations to the UN Secretary General. This week’s meeting is focusing on the role of the economy in development.

In its briefing published this week, ActionAid asserts that the economic inequalities faced by women around the world today are severely impeding development. It proposes a strengthened gender goal to help provide the right conditions for women to contribute fully to the economy.

An overwhelming body of evidence shows that without women’s economic empowerment, a country’s development will be sluggish and shallow. Women – purely because they are women – face huge inequalities the world over. In terms of the economy, women do 66% of the work and yet earn 10% of the income and own 1% of property. This is a not just unjust to women; it is also blocking global development.


Korto Williams, Country Director of ActionAid Liberia says:

File 15223Korto Williams of AA Liberia

Women’s economic empowerment is held back by a lack of decent and equal work opportunities for women and by being denied the independence to make their own economic choices. Women are also hugely disadvantaged by the unequal responsibilities of unpaid care work, by inadequate property rights and land ownership, and by the endemic violence they face at work.

But Williams believes that women can and should be agents of change. “We know that closing the gender gap in employment could boost global GDP, improve family nutrition and increase agricultural productivity. For example, if women were able to contribute equally, the Eurozone could increase GDP by 13%, Japan by 16% and the US by 9%.”

Williams concludes: “the High Level Panel is tasked with finding a way to eradicate global poverty. We urge them to address the most obvious cause of poverty – gender inequality. This demands a dedicated gender goal and ensuring clear targets to eliminate the specific barriers faced by half of the world’s population.

“Post-2015, the development world must tackle gender inequality head on.”

Editors' notes

For more information, please write to: