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Briefing note on the contribution of UN/CEFACT to UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

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Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it is also crucial to enhancing sustainable development. It has been proven that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps to drive economic growth and development across the board. Gender equality lies at the heart of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” is about women and girls enjoying equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation as well as having the same opportunities as men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels.

Gender equality has advanced in recent decades and women are increasingly involved in the market economy. Nevertheless, it remains a persistent challenge for countries worldwide, and the lack of gender equality is a major obstacle to the achievement of full human potential and to sustainable development. A World Bank survey of 143 economies shows that 90 per cent have at least one policy that differentiates between men and women in terms of their treatment and rights; 28 of them have ten or more legal differences for men and women, including inequities in registering a business, travelling outside the country, inheriting, owning land or other productive assets, and opening a bank account. At the same time, particularly in developing economies, women remain the predominant dealers and marketers of agricultural, aquacultural and artisanal industry in domestic markets, while long-distance trade that involves relatively capital-intensive techniques and higher profit margins, is carried out mainly by men.