GENDER, SDGs AND VULNERABILITY
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. SDGs are also known as “Transforming our World: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’’ or 2030 Agenda in short/ Global Goals for Sustainable Development
The goals were development to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) which ended in 2015.
GENDER AND VULNERABILITY
Vulnerability: State of being exposed to the possibility of being harmed or attacked, either physically or emotionally. It is the inability of an individual or group to defend or withstand adverse shock that could inflict damage to an individual or system.
Sex: Biological differences between men and women that remain the same in every society.
Gender: culturally defined roles, behaviour, activities and attributes that a given society at a given time and place considers appropriate for men and women, and boys and girls and the relationships between them.
Gender defines and differentiates what males and females (women and men, girls and boys) are expected to be and do (their roles, responsibilities, rights and obligations).
Gender can be a key determinant of who does what, who has what, who decides, who has power, and even who gets an education or not. For instance, in some communities, boys are seen as the ones who should be educated, while girls are not.
Gender Inequality: Is a state in which the distinct roles and behaviours that differentiate males and females systematically favour one group.
Gender Equality: a state in which men and women, boys and girls have equal access to resources and opportunities, economic participation and decision making regardless of their gender.
Gender Equality exists when the interests, needs, priorities and capabilities of both male and female are taken into consideration in decision making while recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men.
Relationship between Gender and Vulnerability
A significant relationship exists between gender and vulnerability. Gender is an important dimension of vulnerability. One’s gender can make him or her vulnerable to certain conditions. For instance, women and girls are often seen as a vulnerable group either because they are dependent or their status in society is subordinate to men’s status.
Contributing/ Causal Factors to Vulnerability
- Poverty: People are most likely to become vulnerable to hunger, homelessness, harsh conditions, among others when they lack resources. Poverty and vulnerability are not the same, but poor people are often most likely more vulnerable than the non-poor. Vulnerability refers to future events and how easily people can deal with them. In the case of the rich, they have all sorts of baseline vulnerabilities, but of course having resources is always helpful to overcome vulnerability.
- Livelihood: A person’s or community’s principal livelihood may contribute to their vulnerability in some cases. The principal livelihood of communities living in rural areas are mainly farming and fishing. However, recurring floods threaten the stability of their livelihoods owing to loss of farm produce or limited access to the markets for their produce in the absence of adequate transport infrastructure. A youth who does not have a means of livelihood is vulnerable to being used by politicians to achieve their selfish interest.
- Gender: In societies where the decision-making power resides solely with the men of the family, ignoring the wisdom and experiences of women and denying them the adequate access to knowledge and capacity development schemes, these can deny the society the use of such human resources and contribute to women’s vulnerability in terms of personal security, health and well being, and economic security and livelihood.
- Weaker Social Groups: In a society made up of various social groups, the needs of each group differ. For instance children, women and elderly and disabled people have unique group features that may add to their vulnerability in particular situations, such as during evacuation, sheltering among others.
- Cultural Beliefs: Some cultural beliefs contribute to community’s vulnerability. In some societies, natural disasters are considered to be acts of God/Allah and taken as if there is nothing human beings could do to prevent hazards from turning to disaster.
- Lack of Education: A Tradition and Culture of not valuing girls/women education makes the women vulnerable to child marriage, domestic violence, poverty, non-participation in decision-making etc.
WAYS TO OVERCOME VULNERABILITY
- Care giving to the poor in our society.
- Organizing Empowerment programmes.
- Sensitization and awareness campaigns to enlighten the vulnerable groups on the needs to change the cultural beliefs and individual mind-sets that make them vulnerable.
- Encourage girl child and women’s education
By Joy Amara Anyanwu