near Banfora, Burkina Faso (10° 48′ N – 3° 56′ W) © Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
The economy in Burkina Faso is dependent on cotton. In most of Africa, cotton is still picked by hand – usually by women. It is dangerous work, hot and exhausting, and the plants are often sprayed with toxic pesticides. Wages are extremely low and the owners who reap the benefits are usually men. Child labour is not unknown.
GOAL BY 2030: ALL GIRLS AND WOMEN MUST BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION, VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION.
In many ways, gender equality is at the heart of all 17 SDGs. It holds the key to economic equality, justice, eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and creating better jobs. Less obviously, it is also one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. Women with the same educational and career opportunities as men and control over their own bodies tend to have fewer and healthier children. One of the upshots of lower birth rates is lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Global statistics show that 35% of women suffered physical or sexual violence in the last year. In Denmark, the National Institute of Public Health says that almost 40,000 women suffered physical violence at the hands of a partner. The corresponding figure for men was 20,000. Coercive and controlling behaviour is twice as common as physical violence, and the victims are also predominantly women.