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Annotated Bibliography on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Policy
Wordcount: 2637 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Buvinić, M., Open Knowledge Repository, & World Bank e-Library. (2008). Equality for

women: Where do we stand on millennium development goal 3? Washington, DC: World Bank.

This book seeks to evaluate the Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG3) of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in 122 countries. The eight chapters encompass the trends discovered through indicators and indexes like education, health, economic opportunities as they depict the gender inequality and empowerment in the opportunity domain. Other chapters topics include: adequate financial resources are not enough in implementing MDG3 in developing countries; policy intervention examples; gender mainstreaming. The main message that arises is that 82/122 countries achieved the MDG3 target by 2005, however, 19 countries were severely not meeting the target. The authors highlight the importance of changing the underlying social determinants in order to see sustainable change for the future of females. One of the promising approaches is to provide equal job opportunities as it provides females a livelihood incentive to utilize their capabilities on the economic front. This multi-chapter book provides background information including the MDG’s inauguration in 2000, an evaluation at the mid-point years 2005-2008 and foreshadows the future agenda for the year 2015—the end date of the MDGs.


Rosenbaum, B. (2015). Making the millennium development goals (MDGs) sustainable: The transition from MDGs to the SDGs. Harvard International Review, 37(1), 62-64.

The author writes a short article highlighting the transition of the MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The article addresses the difference of measuring success of the MDGs between low- and high-income countries as research indicates higher income countries met the MDGs before implementation, thus creating misleading success statistics by the UN. In contrast, low-income countries were struggling to meet the MDGs, thus showcasing the weakness of the MDGs as they were originally created for low income countries and issues like reducing child mortality. In addition, low-income countries address their immediate problems firstly, and subsequently move to the underlying and basic issues, thus the MDGs are not of high priority. The MDGs were considered successful overall. However, the author recommends to critically analyze the MDGs, determine a measurement of success for the variety of different countries, be content-specific in the SDGs and involve the population worldwide with a multi-sector approach in order to ensure global development. This article will be helpful in understanding the successes and failures of the MDGs and the translation to the SDGs.

Koehler, G. (2016). Tapping the sustainable development goals for progressive gender equity and equality policy? Gender & Development, 24(1), 53-68. doi:10.1080/13552074.2016.1142217

In this scholarly article, the author explores the newly created SDGs by the UN. The author concludes the SDGs do not adequately contain policies for gender equity and equality, thus alternatively analyzes other progressive international conventions with policies which address sustainable gender equality. On an international level, women are subjected to marginalization in political, social and economic fronts thus the health, education and income are consequently negatively affected. The author indicates gender inequality is intersectional thus a multi-dimensional and multi-sector policy approach is required to combat this complex issue. The author highlights the targets of SDG5 to eliminate discrimination, violence and harmful practices. After thorough analysis from the SDGs and an international reference—European Gender Equity Index, the author creates a framework of gender equity domains which highlights having a healthy planet as the precondition for gender equality along with the domains of power, time, care, health, knowledge and income. The article will serve to enlighten us on other international conventions which target gender equality with different policy approaches.

Unterhalter, E., & North, A. (2017). Education, poverty and global goals for gender equality: How people make policy happen (1st ed.). Florence: Routledge Ltd. doi:10.4324/9781315104225

 This main purpose of this book is to examine the complex relationship linking global policy with gender equality, education and poverty, specifically in Kenya and South Africa. Kenya is an example of how great intentions and advocacy by individuals and groups are not enough as there is still lack of engagement from the national government. In contrast, South African females had a higher primary school enrolment ratio than males in 1991, which led to females working in political settings. Thus, during the South Africa’s HIV epidemic, it gave rise to the feminist movement (gender issues, sex, reproductive rights) which came from local and global settings thus enabling this intermix to create change for gender equality. The author highlights the key differences between these countries were the exchanges between the institutions, governments, public sphere and civil society which played a role in shaping gender equality and education. This book will be helpful for us as we construct our intervention policy of gender equality in a developing country as it examines the different cases and their innovative approaches to reach for gender equality in schools.

Gabler, M. (2012). Searching for sexual revolutions in India: non-governmental organisation-designed sex education programmes as a means towards gender equality and sexual empowerment in New Delhi, India. Sex Education, 12(3), 283-15. doi:10.1080/14681811.2011.615600

This qualitative research study highlights the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their education curriculum to address sex education as a way to advance for gender equality and sexual empowerment in India. However, sex education is an issue of morality as citizens believe it may promote sexual activity and infidelity. The author showcases a sexual empowerment model of four components—foundation (beliefs, norms), content (information, sexuality), strategies (workshops) and approaches (focus, levels)—to be the most prospective in challenging the gender inequalities in respect to sexuality. The model indicates external factors of social and cultural norms to be obstacles in this process. The strengths of the programmes include creative strategies to reach diverse audiences. The traditional teaching mechanism is eliminated, instead, discussions are encouraged to create an overall cultural revolution in their society. The limitations include the strong emphasis of females themselves being the key actors of this revolution and the barrier of institutions and families with traditional mindsets. This article will serve to provide background information on how to implement sex education in a developing country like India.

Ahmed, S., Creanga, A. A., Gillespie, D. G., & Tsui, A. O. (2010). Economic status, education and empowerment: Implications for maternal health service utilization in developing countries. PLoS One, 5(6), e11190. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011190

This article used Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) to provide data on the status of the three E’s—economic, education and empowerment of women in 31 developing countries between 1996-2006. The meta-analysis results indicate the 3 E’s are significantly associated with the utilization of maternal health care services. Individual logistic regression models were fit for (1) modern contraceptive use, (2) antenatal care and (3) skilled birth attendance. The findings indicate the use of modern contraceptives and attending more than 4 antenatal care visits was increasingly higher for women with primary education or a higher empowerment status versus women with less education and a lower empowerment status. The limitations include the cross-sectional data; thus, no causal relationships can be observed. The author concludes that increased efforts and investments in universal primary education and women’s empowerment are in dire need to expand the utilization of maternal health care services in the developing countries. This article will be helpful in providing background information on understanding how to implement one of SDG5 targets to ensure women have universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

Murphy-Graham, E., & Lloyd, C. (2016). Empowering adolescent girls in developing countries: The potential role of education. Policy Futures in Education, 14(5), 556-577.


This study reviewed published literature on the relationship between education and empowerment of adolescent females in developing countries. The methodology involved authors discussing both personal and professional experiences which facilitated a deepening of their cumulative knowledge and filled the research gaps in this field. Thus, enabling a conceptual framework proposal on how education can empower adolescent females. The study finds promising interdisciplinary interventions of programs, however acknowledges a key predicament in facilitating these programs in communities with intensified gendered tensions, as these programs will not be completely promoting gender equality. The authors list the core conditions of education— (1) environment (2) foster recognition of their dignity; (3) learning by doing—which support specific competencies (productive, personal, social, critical thinking and knowledge acquisition) which will foster the empowerment of education. In addition, the intervention programs have occurred in both formal and non-formal educational settings, however very little is known about the effectiveness. This article will provide us with a varying different intervention programs who have employed a multidisciplinary approach in striving for gender equality and empowerment of females.

Østby, G., Urdal, H., & Rudolfsen, I. (2016). What is driving gender equality in secondary education? Evidence from 57 developing countries, 1970–2010. Education Research International, 2016, 1-18. doi:10.1155/2016/4587194

 This cross-national time-series study compares the attainment of secondary education based on age and gender from 57 developing countries between 1970-2010. The article identifies two factors which have been associated with the attainment level of education: (1) state capacity—the policy implementation ability of the government; (2) state willingness—the factors which shape the policy. The findings of this study indicate Middle Eastern and North African countries have seen the greatest increase of female’s accessing education. The article concludes gender inequality in education occurs due to the factor of state willingness and not because of the state capacity factor. There is an acknowledgement of the large population of youth in our world who need to be invested in education in order to succeed and not be a part of a society where gender inequality exists. This article provides us with new terminology and factors of state capacity and state willingness, which can be of importance during the writing process of our final research paper. 

Rammohan, A., & Vu, P. (2018). Gender inequality in education and kinship norms in India. Feminist Economics, 24(1), 142-167. doi:10.1080/13545701.2017.1364399

 This article highlights the role of kinship norms influencing gender inequality in education as women receiving education is considerably low in comparison to their male counterparts. The data was retrieved from the national sources with district level data. The quantitative findings of this study indicate economic development is a significant factor in advancing gender equality in education as higher income settings were more likely to educate their females in comparison to the lower income settings. The Northern region of India faces the greatest gender inequality in education due to kinship norms. In addition, the article indicates India to be ranked 132/187 on UN’s Inequality Index Rank, thus making it South Asia’s worst place for women to reside in due to the inequalities faced by the women. Interestingly, the literacy rate of females (15-24 years old) is the lowest in India whereas the poorer countries, Nepal and Bangladesh have a higher literacy rate. This article is helpful for the final research paper as it provides information on one of our potential developing countries, India.


Psaki, S. (2016). Addressing child marriage and adolescent pregnancy as barriers to gender parity and equality in education. Prospects, 46(1), 109-129. doi:10.1007/s11125-016-9379-0

 This article identifies child marriage and adolescent pregnancy as two barriers to gender equality in education. The social and cultural factors of the girl’s household and society play a role in shaping a girl’s success in school and out of school. The article contains case studies from Bangladesh, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Kenya, thus providing information on the underlying factors from different settings. The article identifies that countries with highest prevalence of child marriages to have the highest levels of adolescent pregnancies. Bangladesh has the highest prevalence of child marriage (65%) whereas Kenya has the lowest (26%). It is stated that both child marriage and adolescent pregnancy can have shared underlying factors like poverty and cultural norms, thus the authors cannot conclude a causal relationship between child marriage/adolescent pregnancy and education. In my opinion, a potential intergenerational cycle occurs from the moment an infant girl is born with perhaps low birth weight to experiencing a delayed menarche, goiter, and infection, which leads to having to drop out of school, to being married and becoming a mother at a young age with birth complications and risk of anemia, thus leaving the female malnourished.


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