Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals, Interview with Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer

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By 2050, one-quarter of the global population will live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. Evidence shows that women are typically the main users, providers and managers of water in developing countries and are also more usually responsible for household hygiene. Given this, women often possess invaluable knowledge about water sources, their quality and reliability, and how to improve hygiene patterns. The better inclusion of gender aspects in the design and management of water supply and sanitation systems would therefore benefit not just women but the community, as well; it would help increase women’s human capital, free up their time for new income-generating activities or education, and improve community health, thereby increasing the productivity of society as a whole and increasing wealth.

This is just one of a number of examples highlighted in a new report from the Korea Center for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WISET) and gender and science specialists Portia Ltd. outlining how sex and gender-sensitive scientific knowledge can contribute to socioeconomic and sustainable development worldwide.

Entitled ‘The Role of Gender-based Innovations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Toward 2030: Better Science and Technology for All’, the report was launched on 27 January in response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of 17 universal objectives that all UN member states are expected to use to frame their political agendas over the next 15 years. Here, managing editor Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer, co-convenor of the Gender Summits and director of Portia Ltd., discusses the inspiration behind the report and why gender-based innovations are crucial to the successful implementation of the SDGs.

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