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Millennium Development Goals, National Reports: A Look Through a Gender Lens

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A scan of 13 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) country reports shows that gender equality concerns are inadequately mainstreamed. They are confined to Goal 3 (gender equality), Goal 5 (maternal mortality) and Goal 6 (HIV/AIDS). In turn, the rights-based language often used under Goal 3 is lost under other goals where women feature in their traditional roles as mothers and as victims. This is further confirmed by their absence under Goal 7 (environment) and Goal 8 (development cooperation). Particular weaknesses of the reports include a lack of understanding of how gender intersects with other inequalities such as class, race and ethnicity; and a lack of sex-disaggregated data on the indicators. Good practice is, however, identified. In the Mozambique and Vietnam reports, for example, a gendered analyses of poverty is included, and the Albanian report highlights constitutional and legal provisions for women's reproductive rights beyond maternal mortality. Recommendations to make gender perspectives central to the MDGs include the incorporation of disaggregated data and qualitative information on gender issues across all goals.