For the fourth edition of our SDG Meetup series, organised with C-Change and SDG House, we explored SDG 5: Gender Equality, which aims to empower all women and girls around the world.

Although strides have been made to reduce discrimination against women and girls, gender inequality continues to hold women back and to deprive them of basic rights and opportunities.

We invited SheDecides, Equileap and She Matters to share how they work towards SDG 5 and what they learned along the way!

SheDecides | Driving change through a global political movement
She Decides was created as an urgent response to US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement and dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule – also known as the Mexico City Policy – in January 2017. It is a political movement to counter the infringement on women’s right to decide about their bodies – wherever that may occur.

Rebekka van Roemburg, co-lead of the SheDecides support unit in London, unpacked gender equality in accessible terms: as a “no brainer, because if you hinder half of the population to fully develop and realise its potential, you hinder the development of all”. Rebekka highlighted that not all women are equally disadvantaged, which is important to consider when developing – and communicating about – different initiatives and policies related to SDG #5. Women with disabilities, migrant workers, LGBTQ women, and the elderly typically face greater obstacles than other women.

Equileap | Accelerating equality in the workplace
Equileapis is a social enterprise that aims to accelerate progress towards gender equality in the workplace, using the power of investments, grants and knowledge. Based in Amsterdam and London, the organisation’s profits are used to support women through social impact projects that tackle the root causes of gender inequality.

Heather Larson, Research Analyst at Equileap, made the case for the role of education and investment in creating more equitable workplaces. Through reporting and benchmarking, Equileap is able to compare the performance of gender equality markers in businesses across sectors or within the same industry. This could provide decision makers with a clearer blueprint for enabling the development of more gender-balanced companies.

She Matters | Supporting newcomers that enter the labour market
She Matters is a social enterprise and recruitment agency that empowers female newcomers to enter the labour market, as well as local employers looking for talented and skilled workers. It offers women newcomers the support they need to build social and economic capital, boost their self-confidence and become home, community and business leaders.

Founder Christina Moreno alerted the audience to the fact that only a small fraction of newcomers are able to gain full-time employment, even years after arriving in the Netherlands. This is a timely and pressing issue due to the increase in the number of women and children entering the country; this follows a first wave of predominantly male newcomers.

New insights and ideas to achieve SDG 5
For the innovation session that rounds off each SDG Meetup, the audience split into groups to work on their own SDG 5 solutions and ideas. This edition’s session highlighted how complex and rooted in strongly held social norms the gender issue still is. The common thread of many of the ideas shared by the participants? Substantial work is needed to keep the gender equality conversation alive, compassionate and inclusive. And we can each contribute to the debate by simply having open, respectful conversations with family members, friends, and colleagues.

More about our SDG Meetup series
Our monthly SDG Meetups are a collaboration with SDG House and C-Change. For each Meetup, we focus on one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and invite entrepreneurs, innovators and knowledge partners to share lessons learned from working toward that specific goal.

Join us on 27 February for our next SDG Meetup on SDG #9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure.

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