The Millennium Declaration acknowledges gender equality and empowering of women as specific targets and also as fundamental requirements to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. While these issues are cross-cutting in all Goals, Goal 3 encompasses three official indicators that aim at reflecting the degree of gender equality in education, employment, and political participation.
In analyzing Goal 3, specialized Agencies and particularly ECLAC have considered that gender equality is rooted in the concept of autonomy for women in private and public life as a fundamental goal for the secure exercise of their human rights. To address the complex interaction of the factors entrenching gender inequalities, an approach has been adopted in which three pillars of gender and citizen equality are distinguished. They are: the ability of women to generate their own income and control assets and resources (economic autonomy), control over their bodies (physical autonomy) and full participation in decisions that affect their lives and their community, i.e., decision-making autonomy. Consequently, monitoring and accountability exercises should incorporate a much broader set of targets and address the status of women from a perspective that goes beyond Goal 3.
In this line, ECLAC has advance in the identification of critical areas that are not captured in the official indicators and that led to the development of a series of so-called "complementary" and "additional" indicators that allow a deeper look into the status of women in the region and seek to show how gender inequality affects poverty, its incidence by gender and unequal access to monetary and productive resources. This development is based on the need to measure and quantify gender disparities in different spheres and is in line with fulfilling the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995),2 especially concerning the production of data and indicators.