SDG 1: Poverty



global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 1


women aged 25-34 lived in extreme poverty in developing countries for every 100 men (in 2017)


billion people moved out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2018

Why SDG 1 matters for gender equality

Despite enormous achievements in halving the 1990 poverty rate during the era of the MDGs, a continuing lack of disaggregated data blurs the different ways in which poverty today affects men and women, with assumptions that those within a household share the same standard of living. In reality, intra-household gender inequities mean that girls and women feel the impact of poverty most severely.

Analysis by UN Women and the World Bank also finds that women are 4% to 8% more likely than men to live in extreme poverty, with the widest gap in Central and Southern Asia.

As well as leaving girls and women more vulnerable to poverty, gender inequities deny them the resources to cope, including education, incomes, banking and credit, control of assets and decision-making power.

In hard times, poverty and gender inequities combine to undermine their prospects, with girls and women more likely to stop education, start unpaid labour, eat last and go without healthcare.

Annie Spratt, Equal Measures 2030

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 1 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

sample content


Indicator 1aProportion of the population living below the national poverty line
RationaleNational poverty lines provide country-specific benchmarks for households living in poverty and can define the reach of social protection provided by a government. Intra-household gender differences can mean that women and girls feel the effects of poverty most acutely.
Indicator 1bProportion of the poorest quintile of the population covered by social assistance programs
RationaleSocial protection can ease the impact of poverty and prevent backsliding on gender equality. Yet women are disproportionately excluded from effective social protection schemes,[1] even though protections narrow gender gaps in poverty rates and provide an economic lifeline for poor women. [2][1] UN Women, “Making Social Protection Gender-Responsive,” (New York: UN Women, 2017),
[2] Ibid.
ndicator 1cThe extent to which laws afford women and men equal and secure access to land use, control and ownership
RationaleDiscriminatory legislation and customary laws that govern the control of resources, including land, exacerbate poverty and gender inequality. Women’s inability to hold land titles limits their ability to use it as a source of productive income or collateral for loans, leaving them with less access to opportunities.
Indicator 1dProportion of women who report having had enough money to buy food that they or their family needed in the past 12 months
RationaleWomen play an important role in food security in households and communities, as they are more likely to provide and prepare food for families. Yet they also have fewer economic opportunities and access to productive resources than men—in times of scarcity or when food is unaffordable, entire families suffer and women and girls are often the last to eat or eat the least. [3][3] WECF, “Gender and Food Security,” (2014),