Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow


Kirstin Brünjes,


Although some societies have made more progress than others, no society has achieved perfect equality. Hierarchies, discrimination and privilege are still serious obstacles - not only for social development, but above all for global sustainable development.

Related SDGs

A glimpse into the world of injustice

Equality is important in all areas of society. It is even more worrying when we consider the inequality of the world. The following six facts give you a small but impressive insight into the world of inequality:2 girls with rainbow cape

  1. The eight richest people in the world own more wealth than half of humanity combined; and all eight are men.

  2. Every day, women and girls do 12.5 billion unpaid jobs in care, childcare and household chores. That corresponds to 1.43 million human lives à 75 years every day.

  3. According to WHO, homosexuality was still considered a disease until 1992.

  4. 103 million young people globally lack basic reading and writing skills. Sixty percent of them are girls and young women.

  5. Same-sex couples have only been able to marry in a civil ceremony in the Netherlands since 2000. In Switzerland, “marriage for all” will come into force on July 1, 2022

  6. Women have only been allowed to vote in Switzerland since the beginning of 1971

These facts give us an idea of how interwoven social inequalities are in our society. Did you also know that these inequalities in the world also affect sustainable development?

Enabling people to think and act in a sustainable way

Inequality not only threatens a person's long-term social and economic development, harms the fight against poverty and destroys self-esteem, it also leads to crime, disease and environmental degradation - in particular through ignorance.

The solution is called education: it is a key factor for equal opportunities and fundamental for personal development. Education enables people to discover their potential and take care of their lives independently and responsibly. Social, cultural, professional and political influences are crucial for the development of one's identity and participation in society. In addition, education helps communities to manage their resources equitably, promote environmentally friendly behaviour and thus contribute less to the climate crisis. Therefore, good education provides the knowledge and skills necessary to behave sustainably in the first place.

In short: education plays a central role in the context of sustainable development. It was therefore also defined as a sub-goal of SDG 4 (Quality Education): SDG 4.7 "By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, (...) and the contribution of culture to sustainable development."

Investing in equality and thus promoting sustainability

If we want today's population and future generations to take on social inequalities and climate and environmental challenges, we must provide them with a solid foundation - a connection to nature, principles of sustainability and a high level of environmental education. Targeted investments in the education sector do make such a contribution. Find out here how we are going to contribute to improved #AccessToEducation.

guy standing in front of blackboard

Integrate a culture of fairness in your everyday life

To remain competitive in the job market, employees need more than just economic skills. The development of social and emotional skills as well as living values such as respect, self-confidence or a sense of belonging is of great importance too.

And for that, it needs you and me:


As an employee

  • Show an understanding of equality and diversity in the workplace

  • Stand up for your rights and the rights of others

  • Recognise and prevent unconscious bias


As an employer

  • Implement diversity and equality in the recruitment process

  • Offer opportunities for further education and training

  • Promote and protect the mental health of the workforce


As a consumer

  • Buy from companies that pay taxes and treat people fairly


We can promote a common respect for human dignity and create equal opportunities for everyone because living equality means living sustainability.

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