Goal 5: Gender Equality


View Goal 5 Targets

Achieving gender equality means guaranteeing and protecting the fundamental human rights and opportunities of all women and girls as well as ensuring freedom from violence and discrimination. This requires eliminating the root causes of discrimination against women and girls in both the public and private spheres, which is the product of deep-seated patriarchal attitudes and related social norms. It also means eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Advancing gender equality holds the potential to fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large, thus accelerating progress towards the 2030 Agenda. There is a growing body of evidence that gender equality has positive multiplier effects across the spectrum of development. Empowering women and reducing gender gaps in health, education, labour markets and other areas results in lower poverty, higher economic growth, greater agricultural productivity, more resilient communities, better nutrition and better education for children. It follows that investing in women’s economic empowerment could make more resources available for healthcare, education and nutrition, helping to the impact of available financing for development. Put more directly, investing in programmes that improve income-generating activities for women can return US$7 dollars for every dollar spent. At the national level, countries that succeed in harnessing the full economic force of their women and girls will have a clear edge. In the United States,, achieving equal participation of men and women in employment could raise economic growth by 5 percent. In developing countries like Egypt, the gains could be as high as 34 percent.

Financing Gender Equality

Implementation of gender equality targets requires adequate financing from all sources, including domestic resources, public and private sector financing, and official development assistance (ODA). Governments need to adopt and implement gender-responsive policies and therefore to integrate gender into their public financial management systems to ensure that policies, plans and budgets are gender responsive. Investments that tackle structural causes of inequality such as unpaid care work and violence against women and also enhance women’s health and education, as well as providing peace and security, should be prioritized. However, these need to be supported by well financed national plans with respect to gender equality, which can be achieved with greater international public financing in countries where domestic resources are inadequate. Supporting the participation of women’s and other civil society organizations in decision-making and monitoring processes at the local and national levels could also be a focus for potential donor resources. This could maximize the gender impact of government expenditures by ensuring that they are properly targeted.

Women’s economic empowerment is a matter of increasing concern for private sector organizations such as Coca Cola’s 5by20 programme, which aims to empower five million female entrepreneurs along its value chain by 2020. In 2014, Goldman Sachs and the International Finance Corporation announced the launch of the first-ever loan facility for women-owned small-and-medium enterprises, to enable 100,000 women around the world to access funding, with US$600 million in committed capital. The first gender-focused listed impact bond has a target of empowering 385,000 women in Southeast Asia.

Financing Solutions for SDG 5

The solutions listed below provide a wide range of finance options to significantly increase resources for the promotion of gender equality. These options do not however constitute an exhaustive or comprehensive list of financing options for SDG 5.

Biodiversity offsets

Measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions that compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from development projects.


Systematic search for biochemical and genetic information in nature in order to develop commercially-valuable products and applications.

Carbon markets

Carbon markets aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively by setting limits on emissions and enabling the trading of emission units.

Climate credit mechanisms

Market mechanisms that enable entities, for which the cost of reducing emissions is high, to pay low-cost emitters for carbon credits that they can use to meet emission-reduction obligations.

Concessions (Protected Areas)

Concessions allow people to use land or property in a protected area or natural site for a specified purpose, usually in exchange for a fee.


Approach for projects, organizations, entrepreneurs, and startups to raise money for their causes from multiple individual donors or investors.

Debt for nature swaps

Agreement that reduces a developing country’s debt stock or service in exchange for a commitment to protect nature.

Enterprise challenge funds

Funding instrument that distributes grants (or concessional finance) to profit-seeking projects on a competitive basis.

Entrance and activity fees

Tourists pay fees for access to a protected area. The revenues can contribute to conservation through retention by protected areas, revenue sharing agreements, and public transfers.

Environmental trust funds

Legal entity and investment vehicle to help mobilizing, blending, and overseeing the collection and allocation of financial resources for environmental purposes.

Green bonds

Bonds where proceeds are invested exclusively in projects that generate climate or other environmental benefits.

Impact investment

Investments made with the intention to generate a measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.


Governments and civil society use lotteries to raise funds for benevolent purposes such as education, health, and nature conservation.

Payments for ecosystem services

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) occur when a beneficiary or user of an ecosystem service makes a direct or indirect payment to the provider of that service.

Public guarantees

Guarantees can mobilize and leverage commercial financing by mitigating and/or protecting risks, notably commercial default or political risks.

Remittances (Diaspora Financing)

Private unrequited transfers sent from abroad to families and communities in a worker's country of origin.

Social and development impact bonds (Results-Based Financing)

A public-private partnership that allows private (impact) investors to upfront capital for public projects that deliver social and environmental outcomes in exchange for a financial interest.

Taxes on fuel

The sale tax any individual or firm who purchases fuel for his/her automobile or home heating pays. Fuel taxes can reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions while generating public revenues.

Taxes on pesticides and chemical fertilizers

Taxes on certain pesticides and chemical fertilizers can mobilize fiscal revenues while mitigating the negative effects associated with pesticide/fertilizers application and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

Taxes on renewable natural capital (water; timber)

Any fee, charge or tax charged on the extraction and/or use of renewable natural capital (e.g. timber or water).

Taxes on tobacco

Excise taxes on tobacco products can raise fiscal revenues, improve health and well-being, and address market failures.