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 as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, and then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit


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.

Women make up 49% of Auburn University’s population, 51.6% of Alabama’s population are women, and 50.8% of the US population are women as of 2010. 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 the 2021 report titled Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

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.

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.

Woman at computer SDG 5 Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony

People & Stories

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…

All-Gender Restroom Map Created by Sustainability Capstone Class

| SDG5 | No Comments
By Grace Reilein. Spring semester 2021, students in the Sustainability Capstone class worked on providing the locations of the all-gender restrooms on Auburn’s campus. The restrooms listed on the map include both handicap-accessible and non-accessible restrooms and provide the precise location of each restroom.   Providing this all-gender restroom database is important…

Gender Equality Requires Parity in Leadership

| Guest Posts, SDG, SDG5 | No Comments
By Steph Shepherd Image created by Roel Fleuren. In 2015 the UN adopted a resolution titled, “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Within the plan, 17 sustainable development goals to were identified, including Goal 5 to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. In the…

To Men Becoming Gender Justice Allies at Auburn

| Guest Posts, SDG5 | No Comments
By Tal Peretz I had never heard the word feminism until my first semester of college. I signed up for a required GenED class with gender studies professor Marla Jaksch, and found that feminism made sense of my life in ways nothing else ever had. It didn’t just illuminate women…

Alabama, Eradicate the Tampon Tax

| Guest Posts, SDG3, SDG5 | No Comments
By Regan Moss. Menstruation is a shared experience for many female-bodied individuals. Despite the normalcy of having a menstrual cycle, pervasive stigmas surrounding female bodies and their functions persist. One of the most notable outcomes of the stigmas associated with periods and menstruators is the economic burden of supporting one’s…

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