SDG #10: Reduce Inequality


Goal 10: Reduce Inequality

All around the world, inequalities based on income, sex, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity still persist. Even the richest countries and oldest democracies face problems with racism, homophobia, and religious intolerance that results in whole communities living in poverty. Inequality hinders economic and social growth and has detrimental impacts on people’s sense of self-worth and fulfillment which perpetuates crime, illness, and poor treatment of the environment. We simply cannot achieve sustainable development if whole populations are excluded from opportunities and services.

“Global inequalities affect us all, no matter who we are or where we are from,” (UN).

5 Facts and Figures

  • 30% of income inequality is a result of inequalities between women and men.

  • Women in rural areas are 3x more likely to die during childbirth than women living in urban centers.

  • In international agreements such as the General Assembly, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank, developing countries account for roughly 40% of the voting rights when they account for 70-75% of membership.

  • Persons with disabilities is the world’s largest minority, and 80% of them live in developing countries.

  • Every day, 16,000 children die from preventable diseases such as measles and tuberculous.

5 Goals

  • Sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a higher rate than the national average

  • Ensure equal opportunity and reduce feelings of discrimination by laws, policies, and practices

  • Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions to decrease financial inequalities between countries

  • Improve representation of developing countries in international economic and financial institutions

  • Improve responses to migration and mobility of people by implementing well-managed migration policies

5 Ways to Help

  • Encourage all members of society to vote, especially those that are marginalized or underrepresented in government

  • Support investments in health, education, and decent jobs for young people, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations

  • Break stereotypes and transform the outdated ways of society

  • Allow girls, people of color, and those with disabilities to succeed by respecting their individuality and recognizing their unique voice

  • Promote safe migration of people through well-managed policies for the millions who fled their homes because of war, poverty, and discrimination

    source:; UNDP SDG 10;

Women’s Fight Against Inequality

Some studies have shown that women spend an average of twice the amount of time doing unpaid house work than men do. All over the world, stereotypes and social norms have forced women into these roles, but many are discovering unique and creative ways of finding strength in business. In Costa Rica, large numbers of women are getting involved in the sustainable management of fishing. Despite the huge amount of income and 60,000 jobs tourism and sports fishing generates, “Costa Rica is leading the world in the protection of its oceans and sea life”, and women are spearheading implementation of sustainable practices. While women have found success in fishing, it has not been an easy road, but more and more people are recognizing the importance of female empowerment. José Vicente Troya, a UNDP representative from Costa Rica, stated that “the empowerment of women is urgent to transform these historical inequalities that significantly hinder their progress, as well as their families, communities, and nations”.

Costa Rica became the first country in the world to establish a National Action Plan for Sustainable Pelagic Fisheries, using the methodology of the UNDP Green Commodities Program. Story and photo by UNDP Costa Rica.

Costa Rica became the first country in the world to establish a National Action Plan for Sustainable Pelagic Fisheries, using the methodology of the UNDP Green Commodities Program. Story and photo by UNDP Costa Rica.

Equality for Youth

People between the ages 15 to 24, making up one fifth of the world’s population, have a higher chance of being entrepreneurs than older adults, have higher literacy rates, and are more technologically literate. But despite these things, young people are often not included in the decision making process and excluded from political participation. The UN has recognized young people’s potential in making change, so they launched the 2019 UN Economic and Social Council Youth Forum, the largest youth forum in the world. At this event, 1,000 young leaders were brought together to share their work in promoting peace and inclusiveness in their communities. Among the attendees was Kasunjith Satanarchchi, the first disabled person recruited in UNDP Asia. He and his team are working to improve the accessibility of workspaces in Sri Lanka and providing documents in different formats such as Braille. To achieve equality, people from all communities, social classes, genders, races, and ethnicities must participate in decision making and program implementation to ensure that all people can access opportunities.

Learn More

Read more about SDG 10 here and SDG success stories at UNDP.

Photo by Allison Joyce for UN Women Photo Essay “I want to live in peace”; Photo of Jeanette Perez, the first woman to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Rosa with her husband and the crew at the Puntarenas pier where they unload their catch; Kasunjith is Youth Lead for UNDP in Sri Lanka. He is the first disabled person to have been recruited by UNDP in Asia. © UNDP / Sumaya Agha