In 2015, the United Nations outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of a blueprint towards a better future leading up to the year 2030. Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) 5 which calls for gender equality by providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes if achieved will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.
This year International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8th, under the theme #BreakTheBias dominated both mainstream and social media. As conversations around this campaign continue to unfold, the critical question remains: what does this mean to our sustainability agenda? Can breaking the bias propel us to suppress gender inequality in order to achieve other sustainability goals?
Bias refers to conscious and unconscious inclination against a person or a group in a manner that is considered unfair. Be it in politics, economics, leadership or education, bias against women has over the years been witnessed across the world due to misconceptions and cultural norms among other reasons.
Data from the Gender Social Norms Index of 2020 by United Nations Development Program indicates that despite decades of progress towards closing the inequality gap between men and women, close to 90% of both men and women hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality.
In light of this, many organisations have scaled up the fight against gender bias. Companies such as KenGen have made deliberate efforts to meet the 1/3 gender constitutional requirement by increasing the share of women from to 25% from as low as 12% only a few years ago. In top leadership it stands at 27%.
The company has also partnered with United Nations Global Compact and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in targeted programs aimed at deepening the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and to strengthen KenGen’s contribution to SDG 5 which calls for women’s full participation and equal opportunities for leadership, including in economic life, by 2030.
These programs nurture the company’s gender equality plans and set the stage for achieving other corporate goals. This goes to show that there is need for a proper integration of corporates activities and SDGs to drive sustainable development.
To make this happen, we all need to continue to demand a future where human rights prevail. We all need to make gender disparities a thing of the past as we advance our countries and organisations to greater heights. This is the only way to create a sustainable world for us all.