SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Click on the box to enable country comparisons on the SDG Gender Index by SDG and by indicator.


of women worldwide reported having experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime (2013)


of murders of women were committed by their partners


current heads of state or government are female

Why SDG 5 matters for gender equality

SDG 5 is unique in focusing on one population group: girls and women. However, its achievement requires strong progress for girls and women across every other SDG.

SDG 5 creates clear linkages between its overall goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women, including its own targets on ending discrimination and eliminating violence against women, and other SDG targets that reflect specific gender issues: the SDG 3 targets for family planning and reproductive health; the SDG 4 targets for gender parity in education; and the SDG 16 targets on the elimination of sexual exploitation and trafficking, among many others. SDG 5 is also aspirational.

While no nation on earth has ended discrimination against women, target 5.1 represents a catalytic call to action. Other targets were hotly contested, including 5.4 on recognizing and valuing unpaid care and domestic work, and 5.6 on universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

Their very presence within the final SDG agenda provides a strong mandate for advocacy on responsive and transformative legislation and for far greater investment in girls and women.

Equal Measures 2030, Photo by Davids Kokainis on Unsplash
Photo by Davids Kokainis on Unsplash

Click on a box to learn about the goal’s related issues, indicators and its relevance to gender equality.

Key findings from the SDG Gender Index

  • Women’s representation in government:

    Many countries around the world—including all six focus countries—have made strides to increase women’s representation in government. Yet numbers remain far from equal: India’s national parliament is just 12% women, compared to 42% in Senegal (the highest ranking among focus countries). India, Indonesia and Kenya all perform relatively well for women in senior positions in the government, including heads of core ministries.

  • Legal abortion:

    Restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion in many countries undermine women’s health and safety. El Salvador and Senegal fully criminalize abortion, including in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother. Among the six focus countries, India and Colombia score highest on the extent of legal grounds for abortion.

  • Child, early and forced marriage:

    Child, early and forced marriage remains a significant issue in all six focus countries— even in countries with relatively low reported rates, the practice is commonplace within some regions and groups. In Senegal, 31% of women aged 20 – 24 years were married or in a union before age 18, in India, 27%, and in El Salvador, 26%.

  • Digital payments:

    Women’s access to financial services and mobile banking is critical to their financial independence and to the economic health of their family and community. Among the six focus countries, Kenya far outperforms others in terms of women’s access to mobile banking tools: 75% of women in 2017 made or received a digital payment in the last year, compared to just 18% in El Salvador and 22% in India.

Gender Equality Issues Without Sufficient Global Data

Here we highlight the ‘missing’ critical gender equality issues that we weren’t able to include in the Index due to insufficient globally comparable data. These ‘missing’ issues can help form part of an advocacy agenda calling for more and better gender data, contributing to existing calls for gaps in gender data to be filled.

Women’s household decision-making power

Women making their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive healthcare

Extent of laws that discriminate against women

Assessment of CEDAW implementation

Prevalence of violence against girls and women (especially IPV)


Equal Measures 2030 Partners