The Missing Target

19 January 2018

The Missing Target argues that to bring about real change we must look outside the workplace and beyond laws and policies, to address the root causes of gender equality. We must focus on how and where discrimination and stereotyping are holding women and girls back.

Gender inequality is a barrier to both social cohesion and economic prosperity. Despite some progress over the years, there has been no real shift in power which – at home, in the workplace and in public life – lies firmly in male hands.

Tackling gender inequality

Global efforts to tackle gender inequality have traditionally focused on improving policies and laws, and increasing the participation of girls and women in sectors like education, health and employment. However, disparity between men and women has in fact widened. Non-discriminatory laws and policies and gender parity in specific sectors are clearly not enough.

Tackling root causes of discrimination

All over the world gender norms, which are shaped by society’s beliefs and perceptions, define what it means to be a girl, boy, woman or man, and set limits for what is considered appropriate behaviour and actions. These entrenched attitudes interact with policies, laws and specific sector initiatives, and limit their effectiveness. 

This paper examines the impact of gender inequality across three key sectors (the digital economy, food security and agriculture, education and work) that are vital to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, to show not only the impact of these harmful beliefs and stereotypes but how far reaching they are across all sectors. 

Smashing stereotypes

This report argues that to bring about real change we must look outside the workplace and beyond laws and policies, to address the root causes of gender equality. We must focus on how and where discrimination and stereotyping hold women and girls back.

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Education, Girls Get Equal, Youth empowerment, girls’ leadership