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SDGs for Women, Women for SDGs - Actions from Taiwan
Caring Minds , Devoted Hands: Women Realizing the SDGs in Taiwan
by Der-lan Yeh, the research team advisor
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development consisting of 17 Goals (SDGs) have been adopted as a global development framework for the 193 United Nations (UN) member states and regional organizations. With Taiwan witnessing her women’s empowerment and gender equality progress for decades, we Taiwanese women realize that women's full and effective participation in social, economic, and environmental development is imperative to a society’s overall success and the SDGs implementation is no exception. Also, gender-related discrimination and/or violence, including intersecting forms based on sex, age, ability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and migration status, are so deeply rooted in systemic and structured socio-cultural practices that any efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda without leaving a single woman or girl behind cannot afford not to address these thorny issues.
The SDGs indeed provide unprecedented opportunities for collective action to eliminate discrimination and violence based on sex and other intersecting factors to promote gender equality and to empower women and girls in SDG 5. On the other hand, as UN Secretary General António Guterres points out in the 2018 UN WOMEN flagship report, Turning promises into action, we need to recognize and strengthen the link between gender equality and this transformative framework:
“Gender equality is fundamental to delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda.” (p. 2)
In fact, from the viewpoint of half of the world’s population, as presented by the UN WOMEN Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in the same publication, “gender equality is … a catalyst for progress across the entire Agenda” (p. 3). We do not confine ourselves to the promotion of women’s rights and well-being, but embrace all the SDGs with a gender equality perspective to avail our insights and capacity to accelerate the achievement of every goal in the Agenda. This work requires continued attention and action toward gender-responsive implementation as well as outcomes of the concerted efforts at the country and reginal levels.
At the brink of UN’s first comprehensive review of the 2030 Agenda progress across the globe in the 2019 September SDG Summit, Taiwan’s Foundation for Women’s Rights Promotion and Development convened nine major women and gender-related CSOs on the island to present their work and achievement echoing 12 SDGs as part of Taiwan’s commitment to this global Agenda. The publication showcases a variety of strategic interventions voluntarily initiated by the civil society to tackle adversities faced by Taiwanese women and girls and to create an enabling environment for sustainable development in the past three years. Concrete examples and case studies of the 12 SDGs are arranged in five sections in accordance with the 5P principles of the 2030 Agenda: People, Prosperity, Plant, Peace and Partnership. The innovations and perseverance to carry them through as demonstrated here speak one fact: ordinary people, women and men, can be change makers in realizing the SDGs. We hope the experiences, challenges, and lessons learned in Taiwan, most likely common to many areas and countries, could inform the Agenda advocators and multiple stakeholders and translate into their visions and efforts localizing the SDGs in the community.
After all, we are all part of this grand-scale global development f. We are all working toward an inclusive, gender-equal, and peaceful world with our caring minds and devoted hands.