In 2015, the leaders of 191 United Nations (U.N.) member states came together to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global objectives that aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. Among these goals, SDG1 and SDG5 are particularly interrelated and mutually reinforcing. SDG1 focuses on eradicating extreme poverty and reducing inequality, while SDG5 promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment. According to the U.N., by tackling these two goals simultaneously, the world can achieve a more inclusive and sustainable development that benefits everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Patterns of Progress
According to the U.N., global poverty has vastly decreased since the 1990s, with 44% of the population living below the poverty line in 1991 compared to 15% in 2016. However, the pandemic significantly reversed this progress, increasing global poverty by 9% between 2019 and 2020.
The progress of SDG5 mirrors this pattern. The U.N. reports that since 2000, there has also been a vast improvement globally regarding gender equality. For instance, women’s role and representation in parliament have increased from 9.1 % in 2000 to 20.9% in 2020. However, much like with SDG1, the pandemic significantly pushed progress backward.
To achieve SDG1, U.N. Women emphasizes the importance of working toward a future free of gender inequalities and inequities. Ending poverty “in all its forms everywhere”, requires countries to make efforts towards reaching SDG1 and SDG5 simultaneously.
Country Insight: Bangladesh
According to the World Bank, Bangladesh is a developing country. One of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Bangladesh aims to become an upper-middle-income country by 2031. Regarding SDG1 and SDG5, Bangladesh has “significant challenges” along the way. Whilst encouraging progress has been made to eradicate poverty in the country, progress on achieving gender equality is slower. To achieve SDG1, Bangladesh must improve its score for SDG5. There were 1627 rapes reported throughout the country in 2020 alone, though it is widely known that many instances of assault go unreported.
Links Between SDGs in Bangladesh
Reports suggest that one of the ways that SDG1 and SDG5 can work hand in hand is through the introduction of women into an equitable and inclusive workplace. However, in the context of employment in Bangladesh, there are many instances of gender-based violence in the workplace. For instance, a report detailing the experiences of women working in the Ready-Made Garments sector in Bangladesh reveals that it is an industry rife with “sexual harassment, pay inequity and improper benefits”. Links between poverty reduction and equal opportunities for women are widespread in the literature, and women in Bangladesh have the opportunity to work. This highlights a need for the country to focus on women’s equality of voice and equality under the law.
In striving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the interlinkage between SDG1 and SDG5 is crucial, as emphasized by the United Nations. While progress has been made globally in reducing poverty and promoting gender equality, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant setbacks. Bangladesh, a developing country, faces challenges in achieving both goals, with the need to address issues of gender-based violence and empower women in the workplace. Overall, acknowledging how SDG1 and SDG5 synergize could open up the path to a more sustainable and inclusive future.
– Eloïse Jones