From MDGs to SDGs: Women and Girls' Voices On The Global Development Agenda

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Dr. Teresa Healy


In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) and its member states concluded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and officially adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The conclusion of the MDGs presented an opportunity to reflect on the progress made thus far, noting the gaps and lessons learned in preparation for the new development agenda.

This research focuses on the evaluations of the MDGs made by women and girls organizations and individual women’s rights advocates in relation to the women’s rights agenda. In an effort to add a collective understanding of these issues, the research also presents a review of the MDGs made by different stakeholders including governments, international nongovernmental organizations and scholars on the MDGs. With the Post 2015 Development Agenda building on the legacy of the MDGs, the research also explores the perspectives of the women and girls' organizations regarding the SDGs and highlights some of the differences between the MDGs and the SDGs.

The research findings indicate that the MDGs played a crucial role in putting such development issues as gender equality and the empowerment of women on the global agenda. However, there has been limited success in the realization of gains for women and girls as a result of a number of challenges including the limited participation and representation of women in decision making, gender inequality, the limited use of the human rights based approach to development, structural inequalities and limited funding for women rights organizations and programs.

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