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Want equality? Be patient, girls. We need centuries.

In 2015, we were told that we’d achieve equality by 2030 — or so said the UN in its Sustainable Development Goals. A plan was drawn up, and countries were told to get their houses in order. Every year we get an update on how we’re doing.

And this year, just eight years shy of our supposed finish line, we’re told that we’re a long way off. Centuries, in fact.

We’re getting used to empty promises. And we’re getting used to being sidelined, being told that this isn’t “our time,” that we should “be patient.” Well, I for one have never been a patient person. And certainly NOT NOW.

Where did I get this depressing info from?!

It seems we were never on track to reach global gender equality by 2030, in fact, the data estimates that we might not reach this goal until 2108! I don’t expect most of us will be around to see it.

Meanwhile, we keep churning out documents reminding us why we need to empower women and girls. Why do we need reminding?

The UN’s 2022 Gender Snapshot gave us a few bleak blips — most of which we’ve been saying for decades. What the Snapshot adds to our understanding is this: things are getting worse.

Firstly, women and girls are the majority of the world’s poor — over 380 million women and girls are in poverty.

Women are discriminated against by law. In 104 countries, laws still exist that restrict the type of work women can do — for example needing permission from their husbands before pursuing a new job. And it’ll take another 286 years to close the gaps in legal protection for women.

Women represent only 26% of some 35,500 parliament seats and just 23% of over 3,400 ministers worldwide. Certainly, not all power is politics — but these are visible positions. Here, in political life, inequality is most visible because women are rendered virtually invisible.

In the economy, women continue to be exploited, underpaid, or not paid at all. The wage gap is real — with women earning 83 cents to every man’s dollar. If the pay gap were to close, the world’s GDP could grow by $12 trillion by 2025.

I could go on. You’ve heard me say this before. But it’s worth repeating, lest we become complacent. This is not how things were supposed to go!

The bottom line is that achieving equality for women is not just inaccessible — it’s impossible.

Do I need to explain why equality is important? It would be rather baffling if this wasn’t obvious to absolutely everyone. Equality is a right. It is non-negotiable. It is not up for interpretation. It applies to everyone. Yup — everyone. Living humans — all of us.

And who would argue against this?! The truth is that without gender equality, we’ve got zero hope for a safe, just, sustainable future. In short — we’re screwed.

The reality is that no country in the world has achieved equality. Not a single one. I’m not making this up. Global statistics show that the gender gap is increasing.

In 2020, we learned that it would take 100 years to close the gender gap. In 2021, this number grew to 136, and in 2022 it decreased to 132 years. A micro-decrease. But still, this means that another generation of women and girls will have to wait for gender equality. And this means that none of us reading (or writing) this blog right now will actually live to see it. That’s not something I’m willing to accept.

As long as we keep moving backwards, we are leaving more and more women and girls behind.

So, why are we still talking about this? Shouldn’t we all be really angry — and do something?

Read the full blog here!


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