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Achieving gender equality & empowering all women & girls is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5). This goal aims to end discrimination and violence, ensure access to care & resources, and value all work & provide opportunity.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 5: Gender Equality are shared in our latest Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report. They are shared below to illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

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Because women and girls represent half the world’s population, they represent half the world’s potential; but gender inequality stagnates this potential for progress. Gender equality encompasses women’s empowerment, women’s rights, and proper representation of women in leadership. Goal 5 is one of the goals that Auburn University engages with most. Auburn University is engaged with Goal 5 mostly through outreach activities, with no fewer than 9 student organizations offered from 2016 to 2018 that were related to women’s empowerment and equality.

Auburn University is moderately engaged with Goal 5 mostly through teaching endeavors, with no fewer than 28 courses offered from 2019 to 2021 that were related to women’s empowerment and equality. Women make up 50% of Auburn University’s population, 51.7% of Alabama’s population, and 50.8% of the US population as of 2021. Because Auburn University’s mission is to improve the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation, and the world, women’s empowerment, leadership, employment, representation, and rights must be central to Auburn University’s activities.

View our most recent Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report  for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

Located in the College of Liberal Arts, the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor aims to educate in themes of gender studies and feminist theory. Students choose from a wide range of classes, including marriage and family, anthropology, history, environment, sociology, and politics. The Women’s and Gender Studies Minor curriculum offers students a multifaceted approach to understanding intersectional gender inequality, leaving graduates well positioned to pursue careers in research, activism, and philanthropy. This minor also equips students to better understand the needs of women and children and how to better aid them in situations relating
to hunger, education, and poverty.

Art showing justice for all and paintings representing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Graphic showing profiles of diverse people

Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, WMST 5980/6980: Feminist Theory, focuses on revolutionary feminist theorists and their analyses of gender subordination. Students become familiarized with a variety of theorists and the history of feminist activism. The course also includes perspectives on feminist theory, with emphasis on intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender as they affect the position of women in culture. A vital course in the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor, WMST 5980/6980 involves dimensions of gender roles, relations, and identities as well as social constructions of femininity and masculinity in historical and modern adaptations.

The purpose of POLI 3720, offered through the College of Liberal Arts, is to introduce students to ways gender factors into studies of global politics. Topics include research on women; both formal and informal political institutions; women in violent conflict; gender and development; and comparative public policies regarding education, health, and work. Through lectures and informed discussions, the course explores how politics and power are gendered. By understanding the role of gender in politics and global barriers to women in leadership and society, these challenges can be addressed to enable women to enter into leadership, empower other women, and move toward a more equitable society for all.

Photo of Sustainability Compass Highlighting Society
Women's Initiatives staff: Photo courtesy of Office of Inclusion and Diversity sdg

Women’s Initiatives, overseen by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, represent and support all Auburn University women, including faculty, staff, students, and administrative and professional personnel by addressing issues that affect personal well-being and professional needs of women across campus. Some of the programs housed within Women’s Initiatives include the Women’s Center, the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Institute, the Pathways to Full Professor and Beyond program, and the Women’s Leadership Conference. Women’s Initiatives promote gender equality by guiding efforts to facilitate the recruitment, hiring, retention, and professional development of women.

Dr. Tal Peretz, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, studies intersectional inequalities and men’s allyship in gender justice and women’s rights movements. By focusing on anti-sexist and anti-violence activism, Dr. Peretz aims to highlight prosocial masculinities, shift masculinity norms in culture, and develop innovative anti-violence strategies. Dr. Peretz’s various research projects and publications also focus on increasing the safety of other at-risk groups on college campuses. Dr. Peretz’s research also explores how the intersections of race, class, religion, and sexual identities shape particular grassroots movements in men’s gender justice groups.

Image of Dr. Tal Peretz
Woman at computer SDG 5 Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony

In her paper, “Speaking Truth to Power: Exploring the Intersectional Experiences of Black Women in Computing,” Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s Jakita Thomas explores the unrealistic expectations from others, isolation, and gendered racism experienced by 11 black women in computing. Thomas’s research found that, despite the obstacles confronting these women, they persisted in the field of computing. By identifying the factors that encouraged these women to persist in their field, Thomas’s work will help encourage and retain talented people from underrepresented groups in computing.

People & Stories

Coordination & Planning Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG13, SDG16, SDG17, SDG5, STARS | No Comments
By Randy Martin & Bella Wright  A quick look at the top public colleges reveals that in each of their strategic plans, sustainability is taken seriously and given a prominent seat in the future of their institutions. This isn’t for show. Beyond the “good citizen” reasons, it's a smart business…

Climate Change: An Issue of Climate Justice

| Guest Posts, SDG1, SDG10, SDG13, SDG16, SDG17, SDG5, SDG6, Updates | No Comments
by Ghanashyam Khanal and Nabin Bhandari  While about two frenetic weeks of discussions and negotiations on climate change, damage and loss, and climate finance were going on at COP27 in Egypt, a documentary that depicted the impact of climate change on women and children in the Himalayan regions of Nepal…

Campus Changemaker: Kimberly Mulligan-Guy

| SDG10, SDG16, SDG4, SDG5, Sustainability in Action, Updates | No Comments
by Camille Colter, Office of Sustainability Photo courtesy of Kimberly Mulligan-Guy Let’s talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Wait, scratch that. Inclusion, equity, THEN diversity.   Formally, Dr. Kimberly Mulligan-Guy is the Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity (IED) in the College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM). Informally, she is…


| SDG1, SDG10, SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, STARS, Updates | No Comments
by Randy Martin, Office of Sustainability As I begin, I feel as though most are familiar with the moral cases for diversity, so I want to draw attention to this tweet from Adam Grant, a leader in Organizational Psychology and award-winning author. As he states, a recent paper titled Gender-diverse…

Addressing ‘the Greatest Human Rights Challenge in the World”

| Director's Corner, SDG5 | No Comments
“I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” ~Malala Yousafzai The 193 nations that created the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) determined SDG 5, Achieve Gender…

Explore the SDGs & AU