New Paper: Behind Every Global Goal - Women Leading the World to 2030

Going Up

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched at the UN in 2015 and agreed to by 193 countries, are 17 objectives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health outcomes, create better jobs and tackle key environmental challenges by 2030. Goal 5 (Gender Equality) prioritises the need to end discrimination against women and girls in all forms, and meeting their right to equal opportunities in employment, health, education, and decision-making at work, at home, and in border society.

While it is recognised that women’s empowerment is a pre-requisite—as much as it is an outcome—for achieving all the SDGs, much of the dialogue on women has largely focused on achieving Goal 5, positioning them as beneficiaries of the Goals; however, women’s leadership is critical to achieving and accelerating all the SDGs.

The Business & Sustainable Development Commission is releasing a discussion paper, Behind Every Global Goal: Women Leading the World to 2030, to shine a spotlight on the ways women are leading the world to meet the SDGs and to foster a discussion about what is needed to mobilise more women to deliver this ambitious agenda. The paper has three core aims:

  • Change the conversation about women—from beneficiaries of the Goals—to leaders who are critical to achieving them. 
  • Inspire future leaders, particularly women, to make the SDGs both academically and professionally a central focus of their leadership journeys.
  • Mobilise all leaders at the event to understand how important individual actions are to achieving the SDGs, and join the Global Goals Leaders.

Behind Every Global Goal provides some simple facts on the impact of gender-balanced teams and the impact of women in leadership as it relates to the sustainable leadership competencies we find necessary to achieve the Global Goals. We also showcase compelling examples of women who are leading their organisations (across different sectors) to release the value of driving business results and positive impact in line with the Global Goals. These are only a few of the many role models who are leading for positive change. We believe that women leaders and future women leaders will find these facts and examples inspiring and empowering, and we offer some suggestions on how organisations can encourage and leverage this power.

On 18 Monday, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, in partnership with the UN Foundation, Women’s World Banking, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and The Earth Institute at Columbia University, is hosting an event, also called Behind Every Global Goal, to expand the current conversation on women leaders and the Global Goals, and to inspire more women to lead on the 2030 agenda. The event is part of the annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, expected to draw an audience of than 1,000 people.

The Business Commission invites readers to submit their feedback on this discussion paper. We also welcome compelling case studies of women leaders who are contributing to achieving the Global Goals. Please email the Business Commission with your comments by October 15 2017 at [email protected].