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Gender and the MDGs

It is now a decade since the international community committed with the Millennium Development Goals to concrete quantifiable development targets. In the United Nations Millennium Declaration, UN Member States resolved to

"Promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable."

Gender equality is a cross-sectional issue which reaches well beyond the narrowly defined target set under MDG3 of "eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015" (Target 3A). It has been widely argued that women's empowerment and greater gender equality can positively affect progress towards reaching all MDGs and efforts should not be restricted to reaching educational parity.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action provide useful instruments for promoting gender equality within a broader framework. In synergy, these contribute towards reaching MDG3 and taking a gender-sensitive approach to all MDGs. Regional commissions take an active role in assisting Member States in implementing their commitments under these frameworks. 

UNECE has participated in the inter-regional United Nations Development Account Project on social inclusion, gender equality and health promotion in the Millennium Development Goals. For more information, visit our project website


© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013