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SDG 5 - Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

This SDG covers a wide number of targets for gender equality, including education, labour participation, and ending harmful practices.

Basic education is an essential platform for gender equality, and the indicator for this is high or improving around the world. The assessment on equality measures in working life is less rosy, and improvements on these are very slow. Gender wage gaps are actually increasing, even where education goals are achieved, like in China. 

Equality in working life settings is weak in all regions. ROW and BRISE have considerable challenges with early marriage.


Gender equality will continue to be a challenge across the world in 2030. USA and OECD do not achieve the goal, despite equality having been on the agenda for a long time, as the main challenges remain in gender parity within working life. ROW, BRISE, and China get red ratings as they are failing to meet most indicators.

Understanding the score

Five regions: USA, OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world).
Green light: Goal likely to be reached.
Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.
Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.

Symantec: Holding up half the world

Women hold up half the world, but traditionally they've not had equal access to its riches. Gender issues are often embedded in cultural norms, which can be resistant to change. Access to healthcare, childcare, and education for women, as well as universal suffrage and safety from harm and harassment, are not only cornerstones of gender equality. They are also key to fighting poverty around the world, and interwoven in many of the SDGs. 

Although the Spaceship Earth Assessment predicts that Gender Equality will still be a challenge across the world in 2030, Symantec's Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Cecily Joseph, has a refreshingly positive outlook. 

“I've never felt as positive as I do right now,” she says. “I feel very optimistic because there is so much focus and attention on issues like women’s empowerment, equal pay, getting more women into technology and into leadership roles, and more girls into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education than ever.”

Joseph suggests that more businesses should adopt the women's empowerment principles from the UN Global Compact. “It's an incredible framework for moving the needle on gender equity, not just in one dimension, but across the whole company. It points to how you can have an impact and embed gender equity into everything,from talent management to your customer facing areas, how you invest in your community, and how you constitute your board and establish governance. I think that more companies should not just sign on but truly adopt them and integrate them.”

For the complete forecast on SDG 5: Gender equality and the full Symantec story, download the report.

The Future of Spaceship Earth