The UN summit is coming up, which means it’s time to talk about the SDGs. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new universal proposed set of goals for international development. Prior to the SDGs, the Millennial Development Goals helped create targets of progress but will expire September 2015. While beneficial, the MDGs did not cover as much ground and specificity as the SDGs plan to do in order to better reduce poverty, promote gender equality, combat HIV, and much more.
Next week in New York, the SDGs will be officially adopted at the UN Summit with a 2030 deadline. There are 17 proposed goals to promote sustainability and social justice for all, with specific targets within each to create a stronger framework for countries to focus their efforts. The new agenda is an action plan for people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
One of the goals seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. A few of the target areas include:
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private sphere, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
- Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
- Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
- Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
- Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
The list is wonderfully all-encompassing yet overwhelming. There are so many small steps that must be taken in order to long-term work towards achieving each of these targeted goals to address gender equality.
Thankfully, there are organizations around the world that already focus on such issues and have taken unique approaches to help solve this current global problem. It is important for both grassroots organizations as well as governmental officials to take on these large goals and work to achieve development and equality for women and girls all over the world. Check a few of them out!
1. National Organization for Women (NOW)
NOW is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, dedicated to a multi-strategy approach to women’s rights. They are currently working to win economic equality, champion abortion rights, reproductive freedom and other women’s health issues. They seek to end violence against women, fight bigotry against the LGBTQIA community and oppose racism.
2. Global Fund for Women
The Global Fund for Women makes grants and sustains women’s organizations and women’s human rights movements, as well as creates digital advocacy campaigns on critical global issues for women and girls. They utilize education, leadership, and technology to amplify and mobilize important issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, economic and political empowerment, and violence against women.
3. Polaris Project
The Polaris Project seeks to end human trafficking by working with government leaders to protect victims’ rights and creating long-term change to eliminate trafficking networks in communities. They are a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and ensure that the victim is the focus of their work – to support victims of slavery and prevent trafficking from continuing all over the world.
4. Black Women’s Blueprint
Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc. is a civil and human rights organization that takes action to secure social, political, and economic equality in American society. The organization engages in progressive research, historical documentation and organizes on social justice issues facing black women within dominant culture today. They work to end rape and sexual assault, fight for economic stability, organize against racialized and sexualized criminal justice violence, and develop innovative community partnerships.
5. Women’s Media Center
In a world where we are largely influenced and persuaded by the media, it’s important to make women visible, powerful, and heard. The Women’s Media Center works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told through media advocacy campaigns, media monitoring for sexism, training women and girls to participate in media, and more. Direct engagement with the media is instrumental in how we talk about gender equality and shift the conversation to create an equal power dynamic among men and women.
6. EMILY’s List
The mission of EMILY’s List is to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. They are committed to driving progressive change throughout the United States that will allow new voices to play a role in politics and governmental change. Their campaigns and political opportunity program trains women community leaders to run for office and ignite the change for reproductive rights and gender equality in the nation.
7. Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology
ABI is founded upon the belief that women are vital to building the technology the world needs. They want to ensure that the people who build technology mirror the people who use it. The organization helps women make significant contributions to technical field. ABI works to connect women together, helping them nurture relationships with fellow women in the industry and grow in their own careers.
8. Center for Reproductive Rights
The Center for Reproductive Rights believes in the right to reproductive freedom and works to legally transform the landscape of reproductive health at an international level. The Center focuses on topics such as abortion, contraception, HIV/AIDS, and safe and healthy pregnancy. They’re currently headed to the Supreme Court to stop the takedown of clinics.
The efforts put forth by each of these organizations all lead towards a progressive, hopefully brighter future for women in the United States and beyond. Their work, along with many other organizations and research institutes work together to fight one of the sustainable development goals that directly affects the livelihood of women and girls.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.