The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes among its 17 key objectives the goal of creating peaceful societies based on inclusive and effective governance. However, none of the targets included under this ‘peace and governance’ goal (Goal 16) call for specific measures to ensure women’s equal participation in governance institutions and peace processes. This article identifies some of the reasons why gender-specific targets were not included, despite considerable advocacy by United Nations and civil society actors. These include: the relatively strong governance orientation of the genderequality goal (Goal 5), the political tensions surrounding Goal 16 prior to its adoption, the compression necessitated by the merging of what had originally been two separate goals (on peace and governance, respectively), and the 2030 Agenda’s tendency to focus on ends rather than means. Despite the lack of gender-specific targets, we argue that if sex-disaggregated indicators are employed to measure progress in achieving the targets under Goal 16, gender-equality advocates will have a strong basis for demanding that efforts to improve governance address the systematic constraints and biases that confront women’s ability to take part in public decision-making, receive justice, and contribute to the maintenance of peace.
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