Gender equality is not just the concern of half of the world’s population; it is a human right, a concern for us all, because no society can develop – economically, politically, or socially – when half of its population is marginalized. We must leave no one behind. It is critical that we continue to engage men and boys actively in the fight against gender-based discrimination and violence. We have an opportunity to secure a better future and raise a new generation of girls and boys who respect one another and work together to protect the rights of all people. (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/gender-equality-sustainable-development-by-mary-robinson-et-al-2015-03)
This is a year of global action. Governments will adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals, work together to draft a meaningful climate agreement, and craft a framework to provide the financial resources needed to deliver on a global sustainable development agenda. Those participating would be wise to remember that inclusive sustainable development can be realized only when all human rights – including gender equality – are protected, respected, and fulfilled.
We share a common motivation for our work: protecting our planet for our children and grandchildren, and ensuring the development of a world where all people – regardless of their gender, race, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation – have an equal opportunity to achieve their aspirations.
The implications of not providing girls with equal voices, choices, and opportunities affect not just their lives, but the future of the planet. Efforts to promote inclusive sustainable development and fight climate change are inextricably linked. If we care about development, we must care about the consequences our greenhouse-gas emissions are having around the world. And if we do not take urgent action, we will irreparably damage the natural systems on which life depends.