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Are women the key to sustainable development?

Abstract

This repository item contains a single issue of Sustainable Development Insights, a series of short policy essays that began publishing in 2008 by the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. The series seeks to promote a broad interdisciplinary dialogue on how to accelerate sustainable development at all levels.This issue explores the possible link between advances in achieving gender equality and advances in achieving sustainable development goals. The paper concludes, “As indicated by both theory and evidence, the lack of progress on gender equality may be at the heart of the failure to advance on sustainable development. If women were in more productive and decision-making roles, we could be moving faster and more assuredly towards sustainability in the economic, social and environmental sense. Sustainable development is a political concept because it is about good governance, which will be hard to achieve until we get closer to gender parity. Research is needed to test the hypothesis that women are more risk-averse than men and that women leaders would be more apt to follow sustainable development pathways. Given the importance of gender to sustainability, these issues should feature more prominently in sustainable development discussions and be highlighted in a 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

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