Equal Measures 2030 Data Hub

SDG 16: Peace & Institutions


global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 16


of women globally experienced physical and/or sexual violence (in 2017)


million people had been forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict and widespread violence (by end of 2017)

Why SDG 16 matters for gender equality

Progress on every SDG requires strong government institutions. SDG 16 spans institutional issues from peace to participatory decision making, and each one matters for girls and women. Government institutions that criminalize violence against women (target 16.1) codify their rights to live free of violence.

The rule of law (target 16.3) requires judicial systems that offer women legal protection. And women are crucial for participatory decision making (target 16.7).

Women in parliaments, for example, are more likely to sponsor legislation and compromise across political lines, and less likely to be corrupt. Yet as seen in SDG 5, women face barriers to political power. Amongst female parliamentarians surveyed in 2016, more than four in ten (44%) had been threatened with death, rape, beating or abductions while in office.

The general breakdown in law, order and state institutions that occurs during conflict has particularly dangerous effects for women, including increases in rates of sexual violence and gender-based violence (GBV). Such upticks have been documented in nearly every region of the globe, from Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to El Salvador and Myanmar. The majority of 86 civil wars around the world between 1980 and 2009 saw at least one year of numerous or massive reported rapes. Girls and women experience violence during conflict not only at the hands of combatants, but also civilians. Reports find that rates of intimate partner sexual violence and domestic violence increase during conflict.

Post-conflict situations are key moments to rebuild strong institutions that guarantee accountability and women’s participation. UNDP suggests that inclusive post-conflict political processes help to foster community resilience, restore the social contract between states and citizens, consolidate peace building and promote progress towards development goals.

In Rwanda, for example, post-genocide policies since 1994 have enabled more women to participate in the legislature, supporting the country’s development successes, including gender parity in literacy and primary enrolment. Today, Rwanda’s Parliament is comprised of over 60% women, the highest percentage worldwide.

Plan International / Olivier Herold
Plan International / Olivier Herold

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 16 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

Indicator 16a

Proportion of children <5 years whose births were registered with a civil authority


While registration rates for girls and boys are almost equal, lack of registration has a disproportionate impact on girls and women. It denies girls birth certificates that can prove their age and prevent child marriage [18].

[18] J. Lomelin, “How Birth Certificates Help Combat Child Marriage,” December 2, 2014 (London: Girls Not Brides) https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/birth-certificates-help-tackle-child-marriage/

Indicator 16b

Female victims of intentional homicide (per 100,000 population)


While most victims of lethal violence are men, violence against women is pervasive and the rates of women killed by intentional homicide vary widely by country. An estimated 35% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Indicator 16c

Percentage of seats held by women on a country’s Supreme Court or highest court


Gender equality on courts is crucial for participatory decision making, ensuring that judicial systems offer and enforce women’s legal protections, and mitigating the discrimination and hostility that many women and marginalised groups face from authorities (for example in reporting sexual violence).

Indicator 16d

Extent to which a state is viewed as legitimate, open, and representative (score)


Progress across the entire 2030 Agenda requires strong and accountable government institutions. The general breakdown in law, order, and state institutions (e.g., that occurs during conflict) is particularly dangerous for women, including higher rates of gender-based violence [19].

[19] EM2030, “Data Driving Change,” (2018), https://www.equalmeasures2030.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/EM2030-2018-Global-Report.pdf

Data Gaps

Below is an overview of other important gender equality issues related to this SDG that are not currently reflected in the 2019 SDG Gender Index due to data gaps.

Investigation and sentencing of cases of sexual violence and gender-based violence (by sex)

Rates of sexual violence (by sex)

Women’s participation in police and security forces


The power of community-generated data

Despite the Kenya's progressive policy frameworks to improve gender equality and equity, girls and women still face discrimination.

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From evidence to action: focus on GBV

As we mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, EM2030 seeks to share insights from its Global Advocates Survey on the issue of GBV.

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Lobbying for women´s rights to health and well-being

Aminata has been a passionate advocate for the protection of children since 1990 when she had the opportunity to represent Senegal at the UN Summit in West Africa when she was just 12.

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“Qualitative research about women’s perception of their safety and human security helped to make the link between violence against women and girls in conflict-affected contexts and violence against women and girls in communities not in conflict.”

Respondent to the EM2030 Advocates Survey

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“Men often do not believe that gender-based violence is “bad” in their own country; being able to provide recent data on the prevalence rate as well as the age groups tends to ‘shut down’ this pushback.”

Respondent to the EM2030 Advocates Survey

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“When you speak out on behalf of others, people will listen and it will prompt opportunities to make a small change. It is better to go out as a group, rather than as an individual. This is why I decided to focus on participation and social movements in the call for our rights.”

Nini, Colombia

Equal Measures 2030 Partners