The Goal 5: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" has ambitious targets - listed at the end of this post. 

The third meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), will be held from 30 March to 1 April 2016 .  It is important that the indicators do not just focus on outcomes as  most MDG indicators did, but also processes that are necessary to achieve outcomes. These process indicators must be rights based (promoting and protecting human rights) and justice oriented (promoting fairness).

In this post, I will illustrate these arguments taking the example of (part of) one the targets pertaining to Goal 5

 "undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws"

One of the indicators for this target would typically include 'ratio of women to men who own land, house and access credit, insurance and pensions'.  A more just indicator, in an economically hierarchical  society, is percentage of women and rural men who have land (rural) and house in their names and access credit, insurance and pensions.  In rural Tamil Nadu, India, landlessness is high. Land acquired for distribution to landless and Scheduled Castes under various land reform Acts are not fully distributed.  Merely asking for equal rights of women to men to land is not adequate.  That is, the indicators of right of rural household to land in general and equal rights to land have to go hand-in-hand.

In urban areas, in densely populated countries, when the better off sections acquire 2-3 houses and non resident people invest in houses in their native country, property prices go  beyond the reach of the poor. Hence, ratios are not a fair indicator and proportion of urban women and urban men with house on their names/joint names is a fair indicator.  While difficult to quantify, whether housing for poor is integrated and not ghettoized is a crucial indicator.  

On the whole, a justice and rights framework is crucial to moving forward toward SDGs.  Indicators of ceilings are important for justice. For example, is there a "land and house ceiling" Act in countries where there is land scarcity? Is there a law that restricts non resident investment  in houses where there is scarcity? Do women have equal right to natal and marital property irrespective of religion?  Are women organised to claim rights to land and house? Is there a law on what should be the wages for so-called 'unskilled work' and those in  'management position'? These in the evaluation jargon are process indicators.Without just and rights-based process indicators, SDG targets/outcomes cannot be achieved including the one illustrated. 

Adapted from post in Linkedln May 18, 2016

The Goal 5: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls"  targets

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels