Elevating Women’s Rights in the G7 Agenda
In June, the G7 will meet to make policy decisions on issues including women’s rights. Here's how we'll be pushing for women's entrepreneurship to be high on the agenda.
In June, the heads of states and governments of the G7 will meet to make policy decisions on a range of policy issues including women’s rights and gender equality at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. Our Senior Advocacy Advisor Sini Maria Heikkila is heading to the W7 Summit to discuss the G7 agenda and plan for advocating for women’s entrepreneurship…
The timing of this major G7 Summit, hosted this year by Germany, is critical for women’s economic empowerment. According to a World Economic Forum report published in 2021, it will take 268 years to close the gender gap in economic participation. The upcoming G7 meeting provides an opportunity for the G7 to recognise the importance of women’s economic empowerment as a fundamental part of gender equality and to strengthen its commitments to women’s rights – and for us to push for this.
Our role in advocating the G7
The Foundation focused on G7 advocacy already last year when we pushed for the G7 to put women front and centre of the global economic recovery.
This year we have been actively part of the collective women’s rights advocacy coalition as part of the W7 process, coordinated by the National Council of German Women’s Rights Organisations, which brings together feminist civil society organisations from all parts of the world.
The coalition has been working since January 2022 to advocate the G7 to ensure concrete commitments on women’s rights in several areas:
- Women’s economic empowerment, justice and rights
- Gender-equal COVID-19 recovery
- Climate justice
- Feminist foreign policy
- Ending sexual and gender-based violence
- Accountability mechanisms
I have been privileged to contribute to the work of the W7 as an adviser on women’s economic empowerment, justice and rights. I have worked together in a coalition of over 60 women’s rights activities to develop policy recommendations and demands to the heads of state and governments of the G7 countries. Whilst writing this blog post, I am in a Eurostar train heading to Berlin to attend the W7 Summit, together with other women’s rights organisations, as we hand over the W7 policy recommendations to the German Chancellor and the G7 President Olaf Scholz and push G7 leaders to deliver on gender equality.
What needs to be done?
As part of the W7, we call for the elimination of discrimination against women in all their diversity in the world of work and entrepreneurship. For instance, the G7 must provide tailored support for women entrepreneurs and ensure their equal access to finance, markets and procurement opportunities.
As tackling gender stereotypes remains a key advocacy priority for the Foundation, we are also happy that the W7 communiqué includes a strong recommendation to ‘overcome traditional and patriarchal power dynamics, gender stereotypes and social norms’ which undermine women’s rights and opportunities.
The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women also calls on the G7 countries to formulate an updated policy framework with incentives for the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, including an increase in current spending and additional funding for addressing barriers to women’s economic empowerment such as gender stereotypes and women’s disproportionate unpaid care work. The G7 should also support initiatives promoting women entrepreneurs’ access to skills and education as well as strengthening their agency and leadership.
An important opportunity for gender advocacy
G7 has often been criticized for the lack of transparency for NGOs to engage, inefficiency or for simply providing a photo op for the world leaders. Yet, it plays an important role in shaping the international economic, development and rights agenda, and many of the national level commitments and policies are derived or influenced by the global agenda setting that happens in high-level forums such as the G7.
Thus, it remains critical that women’s rights and gender equality are elevated in the agenda of the G7. As demonstrated in the W7 communiqué, the calls from women’s rights groups and experts are urgent, actionable and clear. Now it is time for the G7 to listen and act.