A journey of thousand miles begins with one step! This month, September 2016, marks one year since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Heads of States. While global policy agreements are key, they are no longer enough in today’s world. And sure enough, all critical actors and development partners descended in New York this week to ensure that the first step of this 15-year journey not only marks the beginning but is a sure and steady step towards changing lives lives of women and girls.
The Girls’ Globe team kicked off the week by attending the Social Good Summit, which is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. The summit which is held every year creates a platform to bring together a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activist to discuss practical solutions facing the global community. This year’s theme was aptly titled: “Connecting Today, Creating Tomorrow”, acknowledging that it is through everyday people and most importantly their networks, who have the potential to address the greatest challenges of our time.
New Solutions to Old Problems
Women and girls today have many – mainly policy and legal – improvements to be thankful for as a result of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and advocacy by civil society organisations. However, while laws have improved, this does not necessarily mean that girls’ and women’s lives have been transformed. For example, while laws against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) may exist, at least one in three women still experience physical or sexual violence.
For women’s lives to improve, alongside laws, everyone’s thoughts and behaviours have to change. One of the emerging and effective forms of addressing this is through the use of technology and innovation. At a meeting convened By Johnson & Johnson and several others on the Role of Partnerships and Innovations for Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, different speakers spoke to the role of private sector in advancing the attainment of the SDGs. In term of opportunities available for partnership, they highlighted that the fundamental challenge the world is facing today is EFFICIENCY – how to make sure that resources go to the most needed. If this does not happen we will end up going to spend billions of dollars in loss of productivity and economic returns.
Connected Goals, Connected Solutions
One of the key milestones in the achievement for gender equality and women’s empowerment is the stand alone goal (Goal 5), which gives prominence to women’s issues as opposed to considering it a cross cutting issues as has been done in the past. Moreover, gender equality is cross cutting in other goals related to poverty, hunger, education, health, environment emphasising the inter-linkages between social, economic and environmental.
An interlinkages approach is key to ensure that progress in achieving some SDGs is not made through means that may hinder achievements in other SDGs, especially in the goals and targets related to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
These sentiments were echoed by Caroline Maposhere representing White Ribbon Alliance, “Women do not live their lives in compartments. We must secure the rights of girls and women in all the goals.”
The SDGs afford a critical opportunity to dramatically expand upon progress for women and girls and increase our collective ambition for achieving gender equality. With the same mindset of urgency and partnership witnessed this week. At Girls Globe we remain committed to amplify youth voices and highlight relevant issues of women and girls form around the world through use of online technologies and social media tools. One of the more inspirational quotes I heard this week and will continue to inspire my work as a blogger going forward is,
“Social media and connectivity aren’t about connecting to technology – they’re about connecting to each other and recognising our common humanity and ability to work together.”