Through schooling, employment and decision-making, and across time and boundaries, women have been disadvantaged. MDG 3 is a bold, cross-cultural statement that looks to put an end to gender inequality .
One of the key outcomes of putting a spotlight on this issue has been to recognise, through thorough research that gender inequality halts development and prevents good governance. Research has shown that where there is a ‘critical mass’ of women in public sector services, there is a distinct change in behaviour and power mechanisms. Crucially, the research has shown that these institutions improve the lives, not just of women and girls, but of whole communities also, often because of a reduction in corruption affecting women and girls disproportionately .
The places of highest levels of decision making still have yet to see great improvements in the number of women. Of all the world’s parliamentarians less than one in six are women, and of the 200 plus countries in the world, none have ever had a female majority government. Rwanda held its national elections in August 2010, but instead of celebrating electing the highest number of women parliamentarians in the world  , reports of ugly clampdowns by government officials on dissenting voices made the headlines .
Gender inequality has a tragic and nasty side also. UNIFEM has documented some challenges and their projects in Haiti and DR Congo in a video . War often leaves women violated and affected for life . This only changes through cultural and social transformation, but some groundbreaking laws and projects have been instated in a number of countries. These were celebrated on the 100th International Women’s Day on 8th March 2011 . Micah Challenge blogged about the day , which gives an opportunity to highlight the ordeals of women and show the importance of changing women’s and girl’s lives .
The ‘Girl Up’ campaign is a lot younger than the International Women’s day, but is showing that girls hold the keys to the future, wherever they are. Girls in the US met with Michelle Obama recently to show that American teens want to help and learn from girls in developing nations. Their website links to the fantastic ‘Girl Effect’ video . Whether 100 years old, like the International Women’s Day, or quite a bit younger, work towards MDG 3 will be key in the fight against poverty.
 MDG 3 Targets and Indicators
 UN Women website
 MDG Monitor story on Rwanda elections
 All Africa report on Rwanda elections
 Foreign Correspondents of East Africa on Rwanda elections
 UNIFEM Youtube video
 UNDP report on Burundi
 UNDP report on International Womens Day
 Micah Challenge blog on International Womens Day
 End Poverty 2015 on International Womens Day
 Girl Effect Video from 'Girl Up' website