UN Warns of Failing Global Gender Equality Goals by 2030 Due to Pervasive Biases, Underinvestment


The current global trajectory points to a grim possibility that the United Nations’ goal for gender equality by 2030 might remain a dream. Pervasive biases against women worldwide, spanning health, education, employment, and prestigious corridors of power, are a considerable hurdle, as the United Nations warned in a recent report.

The report, ‘The Gender Snapshot 2023,’ jointly released by UN Women and the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, gravely states that we are failing global women and girls. The findings reveal that entrenched resistance to gender equality, coupled with chronic underinvestment, are chief contributors to the sluggish progress or, in extreme cases, rollbacks of progress previously achieved.

Follow us on Google News! ✔️

Factors such as uneven access to sexual and reproductive health services, the inadequate political representation of women, amplifying economic disparities, and deficits in legal protection hamper tangible advancements. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, the Assistant Secretary-General, acknowledged during the report’s announcement that attaining gender equality seems an increasingly remote objective.

Particularly concerning are recent upsets for women and girls residing in countries burdened with conflict and instability, the collateral damage of climate change, and persistent resistance to gender equality and underinvestment that slow and even roll back progress.

Projected advancements towards the 17 U.N. goals for 2030, spanning poverty, education, climate change, and human rights show a disappointing gender chasm, and an apparent global reticence towards true gender equality.

Even the commitment towards eradicating extreme poverty appears to be faltering. Approximately one in ten women, or 10.3 percent, live on less than US$2.15 per day—the desperate level of extreme poverty. Current trends imply that come 2030, about 8 percent of the global female population, translating to 342.4 million women and girls, will still be struggling in the grip of severe poverty— chiefly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Education access is overall increasing for both genders; however, innumerable girls are denied schooling or struggle to complete it, particularly in locales characterized by conflict. The current forecast for 2023 calculates up to 129 million global girls and young women being out of school—a figure expected to hover around 110 million by 2030.

As regards the goal of respectable employment for all, it was revealed that less than two-thirds of women aged 25 to 54, representing 61.4 percent, participated in the labor force compared to 90.6 percent of their male counterparts, and that women were consistently underpaid.

Women appear to be severely under-represented in the burgeoning fields of science, technology, and innovation, with concerns that ongoing gender barriers impede them. Glaring disparities in women’s representation persist within decision-making environments, with women holding a mere 26.7 percent of parliamentary seats, 35.5 percent of local government seats, and an underwhelming 28.2 percent of managerial roles.

The report also shines a light on the escalating global conflict, with an alarming 614 million women and girls residing in conflict-ridden areas in 2022, a figure soaring 50 percent higher than in 2017.

The report concluded that continued failure to prioritize gender equality threatens the prospect of achieving all 17 goals and criticized the financing of programs advancing gender equality and empowering women as ‘insufficient, unpredictable, and unevenly distributed’.

To meet the equality targets by 2030, an estimated annual investment of US$6.4 trillion across 48 developing countries—covering nearly 70 percent of the population in developing nations—would be required. However, if government spending remains at its current trajectory, the world would face an annual funding gap of $360 billion—a sum for which the United Nations has appealed.