Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality





The mural art project is the fifth out of the seventeen SDGs, has become the first goal to be celebrated in the campaign at Global Philadelphia Association. The artwork is a colorful calligraphic interpretation of the goal supporting gender equality in  the City of Philadelphia.

  • Sponsor of the project: Glenmede Trust Company
  • Artist(s): Barbara Smolen, Brianna Homberger and Ellis Rosenberg
  • Grantee: Gender Justice Fund (Formerly, New Century Trust)

 “Reinforcing gender equality is an important and timely mission for companies in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields...We are so pleased to participate with Global Philadelphia in this effort to inspire advocacy through art.”

Laura LaRosa, Executive Director of Client Development, Glenmede


About Barbara Smolen

Barbara Smolen's artistic practice focuses on social justice. For two decades her mural art throughout Philadelphia has beautified the city and drawn TV, radio, scholarly, and political coverage to issues such as gun violence, domestic abuse, immigration, food insecurity, and gender equality. She teaches drawing and design as an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University. Her work is in books and in public and private collections. 

  • Location of the painting: 17th Street side of Friends Select School, just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,
    at the location of the ceremony held on October 3, 2019




Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. 

There has been progress over the last decades: More girls are going to school, fewer girls are forced into early marriage, more women are serving in parliament and positions of leadership, and laws are being reformed to advance gender equality. 

Despite these gains, many challenges remain: discriminatory laws and social norms remain pervasive, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights.  The coronavirus outbreak exacerbates existing inequalities for women and girls across every sphere – from health and the economy to security and social protection. 

Women play a disproportionate role in responding to the virus, including as frontline healthcare workers and carers at home. Women’s unpaid care work has increased significantly as a result of school closures and the increased needs of older people. Women are also harder hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19, as they disproportionately work in insecure labor markets. Nearly 60 percent of women work in the informal economy, which puts them at greater risk of falling into poverty. 

The pandemic has also led to a steep increase in violence against women and girls. With lockdown measures in place, many women are trapped at home with their abusers, struggling to access services that are suffering from cuts and restrictions. Emerging data shows that, since the outbreak of the pandemic, violence against women and girls – and particularly domestic violence – has intensified.

Source: United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, SDG#5 Gender Equality


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