The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Are we on track to achieve gender equality by 2030?


In 2015, countries agreed on the need for comprehensive financing for development, adopted a new sustainable development agenda, and charted a universal and legally binding global agreement on climate change.

Concluding a negotiating process that spanned more than two years and featured the unprecedented participation of civil society, on 2 August 2015, governments united behind an ambitious agenda that features 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets  to be achieved by 2030. These goals and targets seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental. The Goals and targets were adapted to stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet.

2022: Sustainable Development Goal 5 under review

Each year, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) convenes for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. The theme of this year’s HLPF is “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and will include an in-depth review of SDG 5 on gender equality.

In preparation for the review, UN Women has undertaken an assessment of progress to date. The findings are sobering. Progress towards achieving the gender equality goal has been slow and insufficient. The distance to equal is long and time is short. The world is currently not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030. 

Of the 18 indicators tracked under SDG 5, only one is close to target: the proportion of seats held by women in local government. In three areas critical to women’s empowerment—equality between women and men in time spent on unpaid care and domestic work, decision making regarding sexual and reproductive health and having comprehensive systems in place to track and make public allocations for gender equality—the world is far or very far from the target. Progress on the other nine indicators with data stands moderately far from the target, but moderate is deeply insufficient when gender equality is a necessary foundation for progress across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2021

This newly released publication brings together the latest available evidence on gender equality across all 17 Goals, highlighting the progress made since 2015 but also the continued alarm over the COVID-19 pandemic, its immediate effect on women’s well-being, and the threat it poses to future generations. See the publication.