Skip to content
Thomson Reuters
Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5

Livia Konkel

August 17 2016

Thomson Reuters Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion Livia Konkel explains why it is so important to promote gender equality and women as leaders in order to achieve a sustainable planet.


In 2015 the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly committed to Transforming our World – a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which pledged to end poverty in all its forms, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, by 2030.

Vital to achieving all 17 goals is gender equality and empowering all women and girls – goal 5.

“We cannot fulfil 100% of the world’s potential by excluding 50% of the world’s people. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.”

– Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

We spoke to 50 leaders from around the world in finance, law, science, government and policy, to answer the question: why is it important to empower women as leaders in order to achieve sustainable development? Their insights, combined with real data, demonstrate the immense social and economic impacts of closing the gender gap.

The global economy will benefit

$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025, if every country only advances female equality as well as their most improved regional neighbor, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.

National economies will benefit

Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50% of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years. Over half is due to girls having had access to higher levels of education and achieving greater equality in the number of years spent in education.

Businesses will benefit

Increasing leadership opportunities for women results in better operating countries. It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness.

Lives will be saved

A study using data from 219 countries from 1970 to 2009 found that, for every one additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreased by 9.5%.

What can individuals, governments and corporations do to achieve SDG 5?

To reach this goal, each of us has a part to play in empowering women and girls. Explore the blog to find out how you can

Create opportunities
Develop leadership
Transform our culture
Boost prosperity
And
Harness data and technology

…in your business or community, to achieve goal 5.

“Our ability to open up new environmental solutions and meet our goals is linked to our work to eliminate gender inequalities around the world. This work is at the heart of a transformative agenda that will deliver people-smart environmental policies and a more equitable world.” 

Erik Solheim, UNEP Executive Director

Next story