Introducing SDG 10 on reducing inequality
The universal response to decreasing inequality through SDG 10 is much more comprehensive than in the previous MDGs. By referencing within and among nations, this SDG highlights how much inequality is a challenge for every country and not just the developing ones.
Progress made through the MDGs
The previous MDGs have made some progress in addressing the issue of inequality. There has been a significant reduction in poverty, which means that 750 million fewer people are now living on less than $1 per day while gender equality has made some gains with more girls being enrolled in school in the developing countries. However, data shows there is an increase in income inequality in both developing and developed countries. In fact, income equality rates are at their highest levels for the last half century.
Some level of income inequality cannot be controlled and is even welcome as it helps in driving progress. However, high and rising income inequality levels are a great threat to stability for both in and across countries. Inequality is related to several challenges including environmental degradation, poverty, persistent unemployment, conflict, violence and political instability.
Besides the clear adverse costs of inequality to human life, it is also one of the biggest limitations to achieving positive economic potential. For instance, the UN has said that a 5% reduction in child deaths for mothers in developing nations can lead to a significant 8% improvement in GDP a decade later.
There is also more focus placed on the key structural factors behind inequality and poverty (poor representation, discrimination and lack of sufficient wage, social and fiscal policies, etc.) not just dealing with the symptoms (low incomes, health or education. Thus, the targets used in this SDG have a broader scope to reflect the many fundamental social, institutional and economic factors that must be tackled so as to ensure inclusive progress.
Main targets of SDG 10
- Progressively attain and sustain the income growth rate of the bottom 40% of the populace at a higher rate than the nationwide average.
- Promote and empower the political and economic inclusion of everyone in the world, regardless of age, disability, race, sex, religion, economic, ethnicity or origin or any other status.
- Reduce outcome inequalities and guarantee equal opportunity, including through removing discriminatory practices, laws and policies and promoting necessary legislation, action, and policies.
- Adopt policies, particularly wage, social protection and fiscal policies, and increasingly attain greater equality.
- Enhance the monitoring and regulation of global institutions and financial markets and reinforce the adoption of the regulations.
- Ensure better representation for developing nations in making decisions in global financial institutions to deliver effective, accountable, legitimate and credible institutions.
- Facilitate regular, safe, responsible and orderly mobility and migration of people, through implementing well-planned migration policies.
- Adopt the idea of differential and special treatment for developing nations, in agreement with WTO treaties.
- Encourage development assistance through foreign direct investments into least developed nations, African nations, small island states, and other landlocked developing nations, in line with their nationwide programs and plans.
- Reduce the general transaction expense of migrant remittances to below 3% and remove remittance corridors that have costs greater than 5%.
Several factors including strong indicators for guiding and monitoring progress, political will for international and regional cooperation for rebalancing the universal system and reinforced policy coherence are vital for achieving the targets of SDG 10.
Dealing with internal country inequalities requires enhanced fiscal and policy space to enact country-specific policies necessary for improving the lives of everyone, especially the income and financial outlook of the poor people. The two main variables in this context will be wages and jobs. Job creation is the best way of sustainably dealing with poverty, particularly where the labor force is rapidly expanding. However, increasing wages is also critical to expanding domestic demand, progressively viewed by experts as a key component of sustainable growth. Countries will, therefore, have to create the type of productive capacity and infrastructure that results in more diversified economies, in particular leaving the overdependence on single commodities and attaining some level of progress in more complex industrial activities.
Addressing the imbalances that arise from the global financial system will demand universal reforms of investment, monetary, trade, financial and fiscal systems so as to lessen volatility. Global conventions on issues like tax evasion and avoidance to stop the utilization of tax havens and tax competitions to circumvent financial responsibilities would assist in ensuring adequate financing for the useful long-term projects required to attain the sustainable and inclusive development paths.
Even though universal reform is going to be gradual, better regional stability can be enhanced by creating alternative institutions and rules to offer some level of protection against financial shocks. To achieve this, capacity building of existing financial institutions is necessary along with an economic cooperation space. For instance, China’s success in development and reducing inequality has depended on a broad range of active industrial strategies, shrewd capital controls and dynamic monetary and fiscal policies.
How can companies contribute to SDG 10?
Here are some of the ways companies can make a distinctive and active contribution to SDG 10:
- Improving job quality – While job creation is very important, of equal importance, is the job quality, including considering the wages currently being paid to workers, especially starting from the lowest levels. Analysing wages is important as it enables workers to have better livelihoods and provide the essential needs like health, education and housing.
- Provide training opportunities – Companies must proactively offer their employees the chance to scale up the career ladder to better-paying jobs. The company must offer these training opportunities to all employees, including the lowest sectors that may require it most.
- More inclusive policies in agreement with national legislations – Companies must promote equal opportunity and empowerment. One way of achieving this is through researching the barriers currently preventing minority groups, women and other socially disadvantaged people from fully accessing and participating in the company and also value chain, as well as providing ways to overcome these barriers.
While achieving SDG 10 targets may not necessarily be easy, it still remains an important goal that is likely to promote inclusive and sustainable development by encompassing all the spheres of scientific, social and economic development.
One thought on “SDG 10 – Reduce inequality in people, within and among countries”
It has been nearly two years since the promulgation of Sustainable Development Goals, but a recently published report on development of SDGs till 2016, shows that there is still a large room available for improvement of quality of data, specifically in SDGs 10. Since report presents the Goal 10 only through the lens of Gini Coefficient, an indicator of wealth inequality and can only describe one target 10.1 of the Goal. However there were other 7 targets, specifically, 10.2, which focuses more on social inclusion, left without mention generates some ambiguity.
Globalisation has caused an inundation of migrants in the developed world which has aroused issue of acceptance of these new ‘citizen’ in the society. This change has resulted in reshaping, not only the demographic structure of nations but also parameter of inclusiveness and consequently made it harder for authorities to uphold and track the greater inclusivity in the society. Though it is a tricky path but in a recent research and conducted at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and later Published in international journal Tarbiya, provides a lead to loosen up the knots and to determine the degree of severity of inequity and non-inclusiveness for Migrants. Hence a lead for improvement of indication, specifically for Goal 10.
The conducted research in Australian context, finds that migrants are facing a greater degree of exclusiveness and specifically Muslims migrants are as much as Six Times worse off from being included in the society and living an inequitable lives, which is followed by Buddhism and Hinduism consecutively.
In the research; Muslim Employment in Commonwealth Government Departments and Agencies in the Context of Access and Equity, the phenomena of exclusion was examined in three spheres for minority religions’ inclusion. At national employment level, national government department’s level and managerial levels of national government employment.
The research reveals that in Australia Muslims population makes up 2.2 percent of total Australian population while facing 12.1 % unemployment rate, double than the national unemployment and highest amongst the all religion groups of Australia. It was also noted that Muslims are facing this double deprivation in national level of employment despite of having 1.7 times higher education than the average qualification in the country. It was also revealed that 52.3 per cent Muslims were noted living below poverty line thresh hold, with income less than $400 per week, which was highest amongst any minority religious group.
The excerpts of the research shown in table below also represented for the ‘X times’, of proportionate displacement of all major religious group in Australia. And it is quite obvious that follower of Islam facing 2.2 times exclusion for their part of employment at national level followed by another minority religion Buddhism which stands at 1.5 times exclusion from their share of employment after that Not Defined religious groups, Atheism and Hinduism faces exclusion respectively as shown in the table.
X Times Faith Following facing exclusion in Australian Society for their share of employment
Religion % Unemployment % Bachelor degree or higher X Unemployed on the Basis of Avg 5.6%
Islam 12.1 23.9 -2.2
Buddhism 8.6 27.2 -1.5
Not Defined 7.9 19.6 -1.4
Atheism 7.1 24.7 -1.3
Hinduism 6.8 54.5 -1.2
Christian, nfd 6.4 22.7 1.1
Sikhism 5.7 36.2 1.0
This severity of unemployment has also been drawn on graph to have a quick artefact assessment of exclusion of various faith follower. And it can be comfortably viewed that Muslim, Buddhism, other religions (Not defined), Atheist and Hinduism spot well above the ‘trend line while Christianity or major religious group enjoys extra share in employment from the ratio of their proportionate share of society.
Relationship of unemployment & education of major faith followers
In second step, the matter of inclusiveness of Muslims was examined within overall national government employment structure as being an icon of a supposedly collective owned entity. The results from the data of Australian Bureau of Statistics that only 5,462 Muslim employees were the part of the national government employment work force of 413,449 personnel shown in the table below from the 2011 census, which makes up only 1.3 percent of whole national employment of government. This representation remained 1.7 times less than their national proportionate presence. It is interesting to note that at this particular stage all other major religious faith follower’s representation is in accordance to their composition of the nation.
Comparison of representation of faith followers in national government employment
Source ABS Census 2011; Counting: Persons, Place of Work table ‘- signs showing the deficiency; * fractions set to one decimal point
At the third level of inclusion, investigation of the research was further drilled down at the managerial level of employment the situation found pretty consistent with the previous two rounds. Once again the ABS data utilised here in the following table, where it has been shown that there were only 336 Muslims managers which makes 0.6 per cent of total managerial level staff. Thus again two times centrifuged from their composition in national government employment. This tally clearly speaks that the Muslim managers are amongst the lowest in proportion from all religious faith follower mangers. From this tally it is also understandable that other minority religions; Buddhism, faces second highest exclusion by 1.8 times, followed by Hinduism which is 1.6 times and all other religions by 1.4 times excluded from being part of the participation of the society.
Major faith follower managers in national government employment
Source ABS Census 2011; Counting: Persons, Place of Work ‘- signs showing the deficiency; * fractions set to one decimal point
Now for the sake of calculating the totality of exclusion all three rounds’ results have been added, (national level, national government level and national government managerial level), the Grand Sum provides an indication of the total exclusion of minority religious group the society and tabulated as follow.
Indicative times of exclusion of Major Faith in Australian Society
National Unemployment National Government Employment Managers’ National Government Total
Islam -2.2 -1.7 -2 -5.9
Buddhism -1.5 1 -1.8 -2.3
Hinduism -1.2 1.3 -1.6 -1.6
Christianity -1.1 -1.1 1.1 -1.1
Judaism 1.3 1.1 -1.2 1.2
Non Religion -1.1 1 1.43 1.3
We can see from this table the total exclusion for Muslim turned up nearly Six Times followed by the follower of Buddhism 2.3 times and Hinduism 1.6 Times remained out from their due share of participation and inclusion. While main stream religious group almost maintains their share in the society.
Upon extending the above research to the ‘Minority languages’, which complement the conditions of being Cultural diverse group of society, results reinforce the above claims of social exclusion of minority groups. For instances Australia’s population who reportedly speaks English at home makes about 76.8 % of the whole population, according to the 2011 ABS census report, but the same group makes up of about 83.4 % of national government employment quota which is 1.08 time higher than their national proportionate presence. When it comes to the managerial level posts this share even goes to more than 90 percent.
% National Population % National government Managers X Increase/Decrease
English 76.8 90.37 1.2
Mandarin 1.6 0.55 -2.91
Cantonese 1.2 0.71 -1.69
Italian 1.4 0.79 -1.8
Vietnamese 1.1 0.37 -2.97
Greek 1.2 0.75 -1.6
Spanish 0.5 0.46 -1.09
Hindi 0.5 0.45 -1.1
German 0.4 0.36 -1.1
Arabic 1.3 0.29 -2.5
Above mentioned self-explanatory data extracted from Australian Bureau of Statistics explains that minority languages speaker like Mandarin, Vietnamese and Arabic can face up to nearly three times of exclusion from decision making roles for the society.
Despite the availability of such data which is a self-explanatory for indication of target 10.2 of SDG 10; the avoiding of these targets raises eyebrows over the integrity of these SDGs.
On the other hand, such ambiguity does not exist in other similar Goals, for example Goal 5 which advocate for women empowerment, have very clear and comprehensive targets such as the representation of women in parliament, suggests a tangible improvement towards goal.
Apparently, there could be two possible reasons for making SDG 10’s indicator a complicated. First the methodology and availability of data. If that’s the issue then the above stated pilot research can provide an answer and a lead to progress. The second reason could be associated with the developed countries’ concept of self-perfection. If that’s the case then by 2030 whatever indicators says, tales of masses would not be different.
This situation is worrying for international spectators who are closely monitoring the development on Sustainable Development Goals 10 and 16 which demands for greater inclusivity for all the countries of the world. Although developing countries are being asserted for achieving the targets of these goals following the footsteps of leading democracies. But these results could never be the enviable for struggling democracies. Contrary to that by 2030, should evaporators still not be scratching their heads for establishing the authenticity and transparency of the results of SDG 10’s indicator?