Whilst gender equality is an objective of sustainable development in its own right, it is also said to be one of the key enablers of sustainable economic growth and the Green Economy.
In search for the right balance between the three pillars of sustainable development, women face different challenges than men, including persisting gender gaps relative to their economic position and their dominant role in the care economy. Women’s informal economic activities do not always seem valued to their full extent and make women more vulnerable when it comes to climate change and the depletion of natural resources. In terms of social equity, sustainable development should include equal rights for men and women in areas such as education and health.
The distinct position of women does however also make them key actors on the road to sustainable development. Women are more likely to engage in sustainable lifestyles and analysts believe they should be supported as such in decision-making and throughout governmental policies. Although efforts to integrate gender mainstreaming policies and female empowerment in sustainable development are evident on both a global and a European Union (EU) level, they have sometimes been hindered by the fragmentation of the institutional framework and their level of implementation.