Champions of the Global Goals: Rahel Daniel
Addressing Underlying Inequality First
Of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the one that resonates with me the most is the goal to reduce inequality within and among countries. Although each of the goals are necessary elements for lifting people out of extreme poverty, addressing the world’s most pressing issues by locating the root causes of social and economic inequality will allow us to make sustainable changes to systems that are currently underserving the majority of the inhabitants of this earth. Many of the goals are issues that come out of the lack of financial resources, however, as stated by the UN “income inequality cannot be effectively tackled unless the underlying inequality of opportunities is addressed.”
A visible example of the imbalances can be seen in our school systems. The differences in the quality of public education that students receive in K-12 schools across America are alarming. Students living and going to school in one side of town are drawing lessons from history books published in the 70s (in a world where Russia was still the USSR and the Berlin wall was standing) while students on another side of town have libraries full of apple computers. Another area where we see these imbalances is in our justice system. We know that 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men. Our response to managing correctional facilities has been to contract the job out to private corporations. Our negligence to acknowledge and address the variables that cause these disproportions halts our ability to create effective and sustainable solutions to ending cycles of poverty.
Rather than providing patchwork solutions, addressing the imbalances in the types and availability of opportunities will ensure that we begin from a place where we are conscientious enough to not perpetuate an unfair system be it economical, political, or socially driven.
Learn more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and see how you can support Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities.