The country Director of ActionAid International Senegal has told journalists that a new study conducted by her organizations on Sustainable Development Goals found that Senegal is among three countries including Uganda and Zambia that have high inequalities compared to Brazil, South Africa, and Ghana.
Ifeoma Charles- Monuba said she remains hopeful and that progress can be made towards the goals.
“The government urgently needs to improve their policy readiness if they want to have any chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on inequalities,” she said.
Governments in developing countries do not yet have the laws and policies in place to allow them to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 10 on reduced inequality within and among countries.
In the study, only three of ten developing countries had over 65% of key inequality-reducing policies in place.
Rich countries are not adequately supporting developing countries to achieve the SDGs, which seeks to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Domestic and development policies of many nations deepen inequalities globally and governments’ failure to address women’s inequalities may jeopardize the achievement of all SDGs.
Experts say policy or laws alone may not always lead to change but their existence strengthens civil society campaigns.
Ifeoma Charles- Monuba said that the focus of the inequality debate generally has been on reducing income inequality. But this ignores the fact that inequality has a more severe impact on women.
ActionAid said reducing income inequality will not be enough to change women’s lives and has urged for laws and policies in response to the multiple and overlapping inequalities that affect different groups of women.
Significant among these are violence against women and girls, the inequalities facing women in education, health, mobility, obtaining decent paid work, unequal access to and control over land and resources, and unpaid care burden, according to women’s right campaigners.
“ActionAid analyzed that the total amount of both paid and unpaid work undertaken by women and men and found that globally, a young woman entering the job market today can expect to work for the equivalent of an average of four years more than her male peers over her lifetime, as she is balancing both paid and unpaid care work. This amounts to the equivalent of an extra one month’s work for every woman, every year of a woman’s life,” Director Ifeoma Charles- Monuba said.
To improve policy readiness to achieve the SDGs, civil society and national governments should were urged to shift policy decision making power away from those who currently hold power and influence, including multilateral institutions, rich-country governments, elite groups, and multinational corporations to developing country governments and their people; develop and hold governments accountable to redistributive national plans with policies that support the accomplishment of the SDGs.
ActionAid Senegal hopes that such will recognize, redistribute and reduce women’s unpaid care work; improve opportunities for decent work and wages for women and young people; stop violence against women and girls; improve women’s mobility, and their capacity to organize and participate in decision- making at all levels; improve women’s access to education and health, and their access to and control over natural and economic resources.
Senegal has put in place an economic emergence plan, which it says will help women entrepreneurs make a good living and create jobs. The government says it is one of its first step to addressing inequalities and shifting the balance on inequalities.