70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York

  •  AFMW 

Of note, SDG Goal number 5 – ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ received particular attention with Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon stating that the new development goals will not be achieved ‘without full and equal rights for half of the world’s population’. I was privileged to attend sessions around maternal and child health, gender equity and universal health care provided me with engaging content presented by world-renowned leaders in these fields as well as the opportunity to meet colleagues with similar interests and concerns.

But how might this be achieved? The AFMW provides us all with the platform to engender accountability to achieve the new SDGs. Not only do we have a strong community of colleagues, we have the collective knowledge and experiences of medical women who are able to support one another. Whilst we have made progress in certain domains, it is our responsibility to work towards medical women having full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. By working towards the aims of the Federation to provide support in professional development (whether this be advocating for equal rights to access to medical training or promote women in leadership positions) and foster friendships between medical women, we have the united power to advocate and change organizational culture to ensure our medical women achieve their full potential.

I urge you all, to review the 9 key indicators of Goal 5 (listed below) and to consider how might we achieve these goals within and between the communities we serve to ensure that no one is left behind in fight for gender equality. The SDGs are everyone’s problem and thus we need multi-stakeholder participation to ensure that these goals are implemented. My call to action is that we need to make the SDGs relevant and simple to create awareness and advocacy amongst our colleagues, friends and family members so that they understand that they too have a role to play in making the world a more inclusive and equitable place regardless of their occupation, social or economic position. The SDGs or Global Goals as it may be known to some, are everybody’s business, pick one of the 17 SDGs and make it your mission to work towards achieving it. I’ve picked Goal 5 (as would many of you) and the first step to achieving this is by being involved in an organisation such as the AFMW. The change I wish to see in the world is one where there are equal numbers of men and women in executive level leadership positions where women are heard, respected and acknowledged as being a driver of greater social and economic gain.

We must hold our political leadership accountable for achieving these goals by integrating the SDGs into their strategies and to collaborate with our citizens and civil society organisations so that we can achieve this Global Agenda by 2030. 

‘Now is our moment. Now is our time to create the future we want.’ – Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations


Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

5.2 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

5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation

5.4 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

5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life

5.6 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

5.a 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

5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

5.c 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

* Please note that all thoughts and comments are my own and may not necessarily reflect that of the AFMW


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