On this page
We, the Gender Equality Advisory Council, know that everyone benefits when girls and womenFootnote 1 are safe, healthy, educated, heard, and empowered to make decisions about their own lives. But gender inequality persists in every society, and progress for girls and women remains too slow, uneven, and subject to reversal. Today, G7 leaders have a unique opportunity to respond to the growing movements of girls and women raising their voices around the world with concrete commitments, new investments and measurable targets to advance gender equality. We call on G7 leaders to adopt and implement the recommendations in our full report, including those set out in the following pages.
Make gender inequality history
Thirteen years ago, responding to massive mobilization and activism, the leaders of the largest advanced economies delivered a bold promise to “Make Poverty History”. Since then, thanks to leadership and investment, life for the world’s poorest people has improved by almost every measure. But violence, insecurity, poverty, and inequality still hold back billions of people and humanity as a whole, risking long-term instability and slowing global growth. At the core of each of these challenges are the undervalued – but powerful – lives of girls and women.
Yet around the world, girls and women are rising. They have come forward to denounce the discrimination, harassment and violence that they experience in their everyday lives. They are determined to claim their rights, show what a more gender equal world would look like, and how all of humanity would benefit. Alongside public and private sector actors, women are joined by growing movements of gender diverse communities, pushing for the same human rights afforded to all.
Never before have the campaigns and voices of girls and women been so visible, so loud, in so many parts of the globe. In communities around the world, grassroots movements like #metoo, #BalanceTonPorc, #MyDressMyChoice and #Cuéntalo signal a new wave of citizen-led activism, shining a spotlight on gender inequality and demanding accountability for all.
Now is the time to listen and learn.
Now is the time to act.
Now is the time to transform this formidable momentum into lasting progress and change.
Now is the time for G7 leaders to: “Make Gender Inequality History” The evidence is clear: when girls and women are healthy, educated, included, and can make decisions about their own lives and bodies, and lead change in their communities, countries and the world, there is a ripple effect and everyone benefits. Still, gender inequality persists in every society, and challenges are particularly stark for those on the margins—for women living in poverty, women from Indigenous and ethnic communities, LGBTQI2 women, women of color, women living with disabilities, women refugees and migrant women. Their advancement requires specific approaches that take into account the intersecting discriminations they face.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflect a turning point in global political attention to girls and women: 193 nations have pledged to end gender inequality in all forms by 2030. This reflects a consensus to tackle not just the symptoms, but the underlying drivers of inequality.
We, the members of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency, bring together expertise and leadership from G7 countries and beyond. We advise Canada on a bold and ambitious agenda for its G7 Presidency in support of significant advances to achieve gender equality, and empower all girls and women. Together, we want:
Safe, healthy, educated, heard and empowered girls and women, supported with the resources and opportunities they need to be agents of change in their own lives and for a better world;
- Societies in which girls and women are equally represented in decision-making bodies, and are free from harassment and violence;
- Economies that are prosperous, innovative, inclusive, and more equitable;
- A healthy and sustainable planet; and
- A world that is peaceful, just and secure.
Making progress toward gender equality is everybody’s business, and it cannot be business as usual. It requires a fundamental transformation of unequal power in gender relations, social roles, gender norms and stereotypes that underpin so many challenges girls and women face. It requires accelerated action, scaling up of good practices and a much higher level of ambition and political and financial commitment. It requires effort not just by governments, but also by civil society, academia, educators, multilateral institutions, the media, young people and the private sector.
The barriers to gender equality are deeply ingrained, and overcoming them will not be easy. But when we succeed – and we will if we work together – we will all benefit exponentially. Because equality creates something greater for everyone.
The G7 has a significant opportunity to drive change far beyond the borders of its membership. Bound together by shared values of freedom and democracy, peace and security, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, G7 leaders are in a unique position to take concrete steps to advance gender equality at home and abroad. Doing so is central to solving the many economic, development, and security challenges facing the G7, its partners and the world.
Indeed, the goals of G7 nations cannot be achieved if half the world’s population – girls and women – is left behind.
We call for concrete commitments, paired with meaningful new investments, measurable targets, and robust accountability measures, that build from across the Sustainable Development Goals—including SDG 5 to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030.
We call for actions that recognize the diversity of girls and women, target multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and disadvantage, stop the roll back of women’s rights, and leave no one behind.
We call for the diverse voices of girls and women to shape agendas, and to be present at all negotiation tables.
We endorse the recommendations of the W7 and call for their inclusion in the G7 outcomes and implementation.
We praise Canada for establishing the Presidency’s Gender Equality Advisory Council and call on the G7 to institutionalize this practice, making gender equality central to the G7’s core business, and to embolden future Presidencies to build on the work advanced in 2018. This includes ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment is both a stand-alone and a cross-cutting theme in all G7 deliberations. We welcome the commitments to date by the G7 on advancing gender equality. Building on this work, we call for the full adoption and implementation of our recommendations, including those highlighted here.
Girls and women: safe, healthy, educated, heard and visible
Gender inequality remains a pressing moral, economic and social issue. Despite strong international normative frameworks and decades of significant achievements, the economic, political and societal gaps between women and men remain vast and our progress is vulnerable to regression. These inequalities vary by group and other factors. LGBTQI2 and Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable. For example, Indigenous women are more likely to live in poverty because of colonization, devaluing of Indigenous peoples, and the continuation of societal discrimination based not only on race and gender, but also on class and culture.
The Gender Equality Advisory Council calls on G7 leaders to take concrete actions to ensure that girls and women are safe, healthy, educated, heard and visible. Among other recommendations, the Council is calling on G7 leaders to:
- Commit to spending 0.7% of GNI on ODA and ensure that 20% percent of all aid investments have as their principal focus advancing girls and women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality.
- Provide policy and funding support to developing and conflict-affected countries to improve access to a minimum of 12 years of free, safe, quality gender-responsive education.
- Ensure women and girls are safe from violence by committing to provide sufficient funding based on a national costing to support gender-based violence (GBV) essential services, domestically and in foreign aid. This includes funding for frontline and women’s advocacy groups working to support survivors of GBV, and leveraging foreign aid, trade and investment to encourage continued domestic investment in addressing GBV.
- Commit and increase domestic and international public financing for gender-responsive health system strengthening and universal health coverage, with a specific focus on investment in maternal, sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Create and deploy mechanisms to mandate that corporations and large public-sector employers in G7 countries increase the number of women on boards and at all managerial and executive levels, with the aim of achieving gender parity by 2030.
- Provide new and substantial financing for women’s rights organizations and movements – including in crisis contexts – that is long-term, predictable and provides core support to build organizational capacity and react to emerging trends, opportunities and setbacks.
- Increase the percentage of ODA for development data (currently at 0.3%) and mandate the inclusion of better age and sex-disaggregated data production across National Statistical Offices. Require gender data collection and use with all countries receiving bilateral support – specifically, calling for integration of gender data into country data collection, and the use of gender data for evidence-based policymaking at the country level.
- Commit to instituting a G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, and to track and report on G7 performance on gender equality actions and commitments, as well as achieving gender parity in G7 country, ministerial, and sherpa delegations by 2025.
Economy: inclusive, innovative and productive
Women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion is a prerequisite for inclusive and equitable economic growth. A powerful lever for change, women’s economic empowerment can drive gender equality outcomes and broader intergenerational benefits for women, their children, households and communities. Women who are economically empowered not only have greater access to income and economic assets, but enjoy increased control over their own economic gains and more equitable decision-making power. Among other recommendations, the Council is calling on G7 leaders to:
- Recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid domestic and care services between families and the public sector, and between girls and women and boys and men, by investing in universal publicly-financed early childhood education and care services; and ensuring that businesses and not-for-profit organizations offering care services are well-regulated.
- Institute or improve paid parental leave programs to support all eligible families. Set a goal of men doing fifty percent of unpaid domestic and care work within a generation and institute non-transferable parental leave and public education efforts to achieve this goal.
- Integrate gender-based analysis, gender-responsive budgeting and gender-auditing throughout policy development and implementation. Make gender analysis mandatory to the budget cycle by adopting permanent, participatory and transparent approaches to gender analysis and budgeting; and by introducing legislation to enshrine it in governments’ budgetary and financial management processes. Create and fund a global mechanism dedicated to providing short and long-term technical assistance on gender-responsive budgeting.
- Close the financial inclusion gender gap in financial services and accounts ownership by digitizing Government-to-People social protection welfare transfer payments to women; ensuring these funds are directed into mobile bank accounts held by women; and designing digital payment systems and social protection programs to meet the needs of women.
- Ensure that women are able to be productive and innovative in the economy by creating enabling conditions for decent work, including for women in the informal sector; ratifying International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 on the protection of paid domestic workers; supporting a new ILO standard on ending violence and harassment in the world of work; enacting pay equity legislation that is monitored and enforced; and reducing the gender gap in labor force participation by 25% by 2025.
- Incentivize the private sector to achieve pay equality for women and men in the company as a whole and at all levels of management by 2030 with penalties for not complying; and adopt a “comply or explain” model of reporting on sex-disaggregated data on pay equity published annually in a public report.
Planet: healthy and secure
Gender equality is the number one predictor of peace – more so than a state’s wealth or level of democracy. Peace and everyday security for women is the core of building just, peaceful and sustainable societies. A more peaceful and secure world means that girls and women have a life free from abuse, exploitation and violence. And, while climate change impacts everyone, and while girls and women could play a tremendous role in mitigating climate change, girls and women bear the greatest burden and are disproportionately affected due to gender inequalities and discrimination. Among other recommendations, the Council is calling on G7 leaders to:
- Support the robust implementation and continued strengthening of gender policies and action plans of multilateral climate financing mechanisms and pursue a gender-responsive approach to climate financing at the national and global level, including by establishing gender-responsive monitoring frameworks and by advocating for consistent gender impact assessments of all climate financing instruments.
- Empower women to leverage the benefits of low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, including by ensuring women benefit equally from access to new technologies and by ensuring women’s leadership, agency, participation and voice in global, national and community climate decision-making processes.
- Ensure that G7 discussions and actions on peace and security reflect human security, and provide adequate and predictable budget resources for frontline grassroots women’s organizations involved in conflict prevention and mitigation, conflict resolution, peace negotiation and post-conflict reconstruction.
- Allocate 50% of funding to conflict-affected countries specifically for women, peace and security activities, and include budget plans for all National Action Plans on women, peace and security by 2020.
- Integrate gender advisers into the operational planning processes for G7 military forces and develop international-level guidance on changes to military doctrine so as to ensure that national militaries collaborate with civil society organizations, particularly grassroots women’s organizations.
For more information, please visit the Gender Equality Advisory Council page.
1. Girls and women
Gender inequality remains a pressing moral, economic and social issue. Despite strong international normative frameworks and decades of significant achievements, the economic and societal gaps between women and menFootnote 2 remain vast and our progress remains vulnerable to regression. These inequalities vary by group. LGBTQI2 and Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable. For example, Indigenous women are more likely to live in poverty because of colonization, devaluing of Indigenous peoples, and the continuation of societal discrimination based not only on race and gender, but also on class and culture. In the same vein, girls and women living in rural areas often lack access to basic social services and infrastructure with complex structural barriers that perpetuate their exacerbates gender inequalities.
Achieving sustainable progress in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women requires efforts that ensure that girls and women are safe, supported and visible.
- Safe: Girls and women are safe when they are free from sexual and gender-based violence.
- Healthy: Gender-responsive health systems that uphold girls’ and women’s essential rights to health throughout their lives, and promote safe, healthy, and functioning societies and strong economic growth and development.
- Educated: Sustained gender equality also requires that girls and women are supported in receiving a minimum of 12 years of free, safe, quality and gender-responsive education.
- Heard: Girls and women must be heard, involved and lead on an equal footing with men in all sectors. This requires dismantling barriers including implicit or unconscious bias, and listening to women’s advocacy to change laws, attitudes, behaviors, norms, and practices.
- Visible: Gender data holds power to make the invisible, visible. Gender data sheds light on the disadvantages experienced by girls and women, helps identify the underlying causes of inequality, and measures outcomes and impacts.
Achieving gender equality also requires the active involvement of men and boys because men still disproportionately control our political, economic, social and cultural institutions. Historically, this has been a barrier to women’s rights. Conversely, men supporting women’s empowerment will mobilize vast resources and institutional and cultural clout. Men’s action is also critical because boys look to men to define the values they associate with manhood. Thus when men speak out for women’s rights or against sexual and gender-based violence, when men challenge their own and others’ attitudes and behaviors, this can have a powerful impact—and an increasing number of men are doing exactly that.
I. Safe from gender-based violence
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation of pandemic proportion with grave health and psycho-social consequences for girls and women, and gender-diverse people. According to the World Health Organization (2013), 35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate-partner violence or non-partner sexual violence over their lifetime. There is relatively little data collected about the experiences of people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities. It is likely that numbers are high.
GBV cuts across age, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries severely affecting girls’ and women’s potential throughout their life-cycles. Ending GBV requires a comprehensive approach, which addresses the root causes of violence, gender inequality and discrimination across all spheres. One in three girls and women globally will be subjected to GBV, yet many girls, women and gender diverse people still lack access to the most basic and essential services for their safety, protection and recovery. Where these services exist, they are inadequately funded.
Investing in the elimination of GBV and harmful practices is both ethical and practical. The costs of inaction — including physical and mental health impairments, loss of productivity, and costs related to social, legal, and medical service provision—are staggering. GBV should not be addressed in isolation, but rather included in broader policy frameworks, such as national development plans, health, education, security and justice policies and provide adequate resourcing for implementation. We call on the G7 to:
- Ensure accountability for gender-based violence (GBV)
- Strengthen and adequately resource accountability mechanisms connected to grassroots GBV organizations that annually evaluate and report to the public on the ways in which the country is addressing GBV, including prevention and its root causes, provision of quality and coordinated multi-sectoral services, and institutional change.
- Monitor the implementation of laws and policies related to GBV, and collect and analyze relevant data on the scope and types of violence perpetrated against girls and women.
- Develop a fully-funded five-year national action plan with grassroots GBV organizations and women’s groups, with clear benchmarks, timelines and allocated resources to implement laws.
- End sexual harassment in the world of work and in public and private spaces
- Support the adoption of a new International Labour Organization (ILO) standard on ending violence and harassment in the world of work.
- Create meaningful partnerships with employers’ and workers’ organizations to address gender equality in the world of work where sexual harassment and other forms of GBV often occur.
- Ensure that every public and private sector company has a stand-alone sexual harassment policy outlining how to address and investigate sexual harassment and other forms of GBV. The policy must outline clearly how people subjected to sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the world of work can report even when harmed by their direct supervisor and what support they can expect.
- Mandate that employers establish comprehensive policies and ongoing training of staff and managers to prevent and effectively respond to workplace harassment (based on sex, sexual orientation, gender self-definition, ‘race’, ethnicity, religion, physical and mental differences, etc.) and to support staff outside the workplace who have experienced such harassment, including through paid leave.
- Work with local governments to promote the safety of girls, women and gender diverse people in public spaces, including through urban infrastructures (e.g. lighting, safe transportation), as well as identification of unsafe areas.
- End harmful practices, child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting.
- Enact and enforce comprehensive legal frameworks and policies to protect against GBV in all forms, including harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).
- Provide quality, coordinated, accessible and women-centered support services, and adopt comprehensive prevention strategies with a broad range of stakeholders including faith-based organizations and religious organizations, men and boys, and women’s organizations, to help change existing norms, attitudes and behaviours that condone and justify GBV, gender inequality and harmful practices such as child, early, and forced marriage and FGM/C.
- Institute and improve data collection on the various harmful practices, including incidence of child, early, and forced marriage and FGM/C.
- Invest in multi-sectoral support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Ensure that there is a set of core health, police and justice, and social services that respond to immediate and long-term needs of survivors of violence. This includes:
- ‘First-line support’ such as urgent medical treatment and care of injuries, including post-rape care, especially critical within the first 72-hours of the incident
- Information about survivors’ rights and the availability of services;
- Accessible legal aid, psycho-social support and counselling for survivors;
- One shelter for every 10,000 inhabitants that provides safe emergency accommodation, qualified counselling and other assistance;
- One women’s advocacy and counselling centre for every 50,000 women that offers crisis intervention for survivors/victims;
- One rape crisis centre for every 200,000 women;
- Longer-term health, legal, psychosocial, educational and economic support;
- Developing and evaluating treatment and reintegration/rehabilitation programs for perpetrators (which prioritize the safety of victims); and
- Systematic data collection, recording and reporting through data systems that protect the confidentiality and privacy of the victims and survivors in order to ensure quality service provision.
- Provide sufficient funding based on a national costing to support essential services responding to GBV, domestically and in foreign aid. This includes funding for frontline and women’s advocacy groups working to support survivors of GBV.
- Link foreign aid, trade and investment to continued domestic investment in addressing GBV.
- Consider optimizing the impact of and/or increasing available funds for development cooperation programs addressing all forms of GBV, including harmful practices, and human trafficking by 2022, and strengthen G7 efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security, and violence against girls and women.
- Ensure that there is a set of core health, police and justice, and social services that respond to immediate and long-term needs of survivors of violence. This includes:
- Increase access to justice.
- Call on all States to create laws (or improve existing laws) to provide robust protection and clear responses to GBV.
- Review, introduce, and strengthen legislation and its implementation to help ensure the effective prosecution of perpetrators of GBV and put an end to impunity. Fund and rigorously evaluate a range of rehabilitation/treatment programs for such perpetrators.
- Increase availability of justice service providers, through the establishment of mobile courts, specialized police units and prosecution teams adequately trained and resourced.
- Support and create necessary legal supports and services (e.g., legal representation, counselling for survivors of GBV) and for legal systems and access to justice for migrant people, refugees, people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and people in humanitarian and conflict-affected regions, since girls and women in humanitarian settings are particularly susceptible to GBV and justice systems in these settings are insufficient.
- Support, promote, and enshrine the human rights of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities at national and international levels.
- Investigate and hold to account persons and/or groups engaged in the trafficking of girls and women and other marginalized communities for the purposes of sexual exploitation as a deterrent mechanism, whilst providing better support, response, including physical and legal protection, safe haven, and more choices for these victims.
- Endorse the ‘Call to Action to end Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking’ recognizing that legal definitions vary from country to country.
- Combat trafficking in persons by partnering with private sector and civil society to counter illicit financial flows stemming from trafficking in persons, including by leveraging financial intelligence and the work by the Financial Action Task Force and its Global Network.
- Advance work on the development of a common public messaging campaign by 2020 through the Roma-Lyon Group on Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism.
- Ratify and implement the following international conventions relating to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation:
- UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children;
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979), which states that States must take appropriate measures to suppress trafficking in women and the exploitation of prostitution of women;
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which states that States must protect all children from sexual abuse and exploitation by taking measures to prevent.
- Ensure that there are effective frameworks that capture and seek to understand the intersections and complexities regarding human trafficking and the sex industry with a view to ensuring that the safety and self-determination of marginalized communities remain at the forefront.
- Promote and facilitate cooperation to help ensure the effective and timely prosecution of those engaged – at any level – in human trafficking and exploitation, both domestically and internationally, including cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination and their respective law enforcement agencies.
- Address root causes of violence by increasing the political, economic and social empowerment of girls and women. The prevention of GBV includes not only raising awareness of the problem, but also addressing root causes of violence and increasing the political, economic and social empowerment of girls and women.
- Foster community discussions with religious leaders, community leaders and a broad range of actors on the issue working with local awareness-raising campaigns and ensure that girls and women play a central role in these discussions.
- Develop partnerships with the media to reach large parts of the population, and implement training programs for media outlets on GBV, in order to address gender stereotypes and promote gender-aware reporting on GBV.
- Develop partnerships with employers and workers’ organizations and sports organizations through programs that promote women’s participation and leadership and address gender inequality.
- Encourage the private sector as well as marketing and media organization to join the UNILEVER and UN Women initiated Unstereotype Alliance to drive gender balance in leadership and stop depicting women as sexual objects and secondary in marketing.
- Develop curricula that build life skills and promote women’s rights, engaging teachers, pupils, parents and local community members to promote respectful relationships and safe schools free from violence and discrimination.
- Provide economic and political empowerment programs for women (e.g., microfinance and civic engagement education).
- Increase male engagement to end gender-based violence and other forms of interpersonal violence.
- Increase financial and other forms of support for evidence-based campaigns and education aimed at boys and men to prevent all forms of GBV and homophobic violence. Such financing must not be at the expense of women’s programs and services.
- Increase funding for programs that work with men who use violence, including innovative approaches such as restorative justice initiatives developed within Indigenous communities.
- Support increased research efforts and data-collection on men’s violence against women and other forms of GBV.
- Support psycho-social support programs for young men and boys who witness domestic violence and for male survivors of childhood abuse.
Gender-responsive health systems uphold girls’ and women’s essential rights to health, and promote safe, healthy, and functioning societies and strong economic growth and development. Investments in health are critical for the achievement of broad development goals such as economic growth, improvements in educational status, the reduction of poverty, and the achievement of the 2030 Development Agenda. Despite the increasing awareness of the relationship between gender, health, and development there has been little focus on applying a gender lens to health.
Girls, women and gender diverse people have a range of health needs, and providing comprehensive, women-centered and culturally appropriate care must be a priority. Access to modern contraception, to safe abortion, and to the whole suite of sexual and reproductive health, rights and services is critical to women’s health, participation in society and the economy and overall wellbeing. However, girls and women still face unnecessary challenges in meeting their sexual and reproductive health needs.
Marginalized populations, such as LGBTQI2 and Indigenous and remote communities, have specific sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs. Due to a variety of interrelated reasons, including stigma, discrimination, and lack of information, these populations face particular obstacles to accessing adequate care and enjoying the full spectrum of their sexual and reproductive rights. Policies, programs and investments must support strengthened SRHR services for girls and women, as well as marginalized communities. They must work to reverse cultural norms that inhibit access to SRHR services, such as strengthening comprehensive sexuality education in schools, mechanisms to reduced gender-based violence and harmful gender norms, and involving men and boys in efforts to combat harmful gender norms and practices. We call on the G7 to:
- Recognize that the health of girls and women is an essential right and central to economic growth and prosperity.
- Commit to stronger monitoring of health and development concerns of all populations, prioritizing sex-, age-, income-, and geographical location-disaggregated data as well as harmonized intersectoral data collection, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Reaffirm the importance of strong, resilient and sustainable health systems as the key platform to make progress towards health for all, including girls and women.
- Ensure that girls’ and women’s voices – and their agency – are recognized and included at all levels of health system-strengthening, service delivery interventions, research and development agendas, and in accountability mechanisms.
- Develop policies, strategies, and investments that leverage the integrated and inter-relationships between health and other issue areas such as education, peace and security, political participation, gender equality, and climate and environment.
- Leverage gender budgeting and other appropriate mechanisms to align both bilateral and multilateral health aid priorities to the national plans, strategies, and budgets of recipient countries and multilaterals.
- Support innovative and effective finance mechanisms within health, such as the GAVI Alliance, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child etc., and require them to adopt a strong gender lens.
- Prioritize health for all through universal health coverage, including for girls and women.
- Encourage and support all countries to spend a sufficient amount of GDP on healthcare, with bilateral and multilateral aid mirroring these allocations.
- Renew their commitment to agreements made in international fora regarding the right to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), including the Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, and the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health.
- Promote a strong gender lens to UHC, and prioritize the health of girls and women and the most vulnerable including people living with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQI2, and gender non-confirming people. Social spending for Indigenous girls and women must include culturally appropriate services in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Articles 11 & 14), including but not limited to access to Indigenous language and culture.
- Align universal healthcare service investments to internationally-accepted standards, such as SDG Indicator 3.8.1 and the Montevideo Roadmap 2018 – 2030 on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as a Sustainable Development Priority.
- Commit domestically and in international fora to increasing public financing for health through progressive domestic resource mobilization as well as through graduated ODA to support Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs) to make progress towards UHC and Health System Strengthening as way to promote health security across the world.
- Encourage accountability in the delivery of UHC through establishing robust public mechanisms and by engaging youth-serving and women-led civil society organizations.
- Support the health and meaningful engagement of adolescent girls and young people as vital for healthy societies.
- Ensure that young people’s and adolescents girls’ voices, rights, and agency are recognized and included at all levels of health system-strengthening and service delivery interventions. Commit to funding youth-led and youth-serving organizations to promote leadership, accountability, and meaningful youth engagement with healthcare systems and services.
- Align policies, programs, strategies, and increase budgets to achieve globally agreed priorities and targets for adolescent health outcomes set forth in global frameworks such as the Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!) and the UN Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health.
- Work across line ministries such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Gender Equality and the Ministry of Youth, to overcome common barriers that adolescents face in accessing healthcare by prioritizing youth-friendly health services, products, and information, as well as ensuring the provision of comprehensive sexuality education that aligns with the UN’s 2017 International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education.
- Recognize that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental and essential for gender equality and for healthy, inclusive societies.
- Adopt a feminist approach to SRHR, which entails support for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services information and knowledge, grounded in the principles of bodily autonomy and reproductive justice, including for those with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
- Align sexual and reproductive health laws and policies with human rights frameworks, and withdraw Mexico City Policy / Global Gag Rule.
- Work toward achieving SDG Target 5.6 by eliminating legal, financial, social, and institutional barriers that prevent access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for girls and women, including but not limited to those referring to age of consent, parental consent, spousal consent, or marital status requirements for accessing health information and services including contraceptive and reproductive health services and HIV prevention and treatment.
- Provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion services, as part of an integrated care package that aligns with SDG Targets 3.3 and 3.7. This package of services should include information, services, and education on contraception, safe abortion care, and the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This package of services must also be provided in fragile and humanitarian settings.
- Ensure that both supply-side and demand-side conditions foster the achievement of SDG Target 3.7 by enabling universal access to sexual and reproductive health services as part of holistic national health strategies.
- Fund comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and advocacy, particularly as they relate to the most neglected areas of SRHR (range of methods of contraception, safe abortion care, adolescent SRHR and advocacy for SRHR).
- Ensure that service delivery is extended beyond ‘women of reproductive age,’ meeting the rights and needs of all individuals and recognizing sexuality as an integral part of women’s health and rights.
- Involve men and boys in efforts to promote healthy behaviours and gender norms in order to respect, protect, and fulfill SRHR, and to advance gender equality.
- Require that employer-provided or employer-subsidized health care benefits cover sexual and reproductive health.
- Promote access to health services for men, including mental health, improve comprehensive sexuality education, and engage men as partners in sexual health, including HIV prevention.
- Conduct campaigns to promote boys’ and men’s health-seeking and help-getting behaviours, including around substance use, depression and suicide prevention.
- Carry out campaigns and targeted education to engage men as full and supportive sexual health partners, as well as pay attention to specific HIV needs of men, including men of diverse sexual orientations.
- Improve school-based sex education to focus on healthy relationships, diverse sexualities and relationships, consent, and healthy sexual lives and that include critical discussions about masculinities and gender.
- Strengthen access to quality Maternal and Newborn health.
- Commit to funding and furthering the work of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child, to bring together diverse resources to support maternal and child health in support of Every Woman Every Child and The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and the achievement of SDG Targets 3.1 and 3.2.
- Design and implement programs domestically that align with the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and encourage other governments to adopt and implement similar programs that meet the health needs of women, children and adolescents in their countries.
- Commit to ending disparities in maternal and newborn health outcomes domestically and at the international level by monitoring and tracking health outcomes across all populations, including poor and marginalized communities, and developing and funding action plans to address challenges.
- Invest in healthcare workers per the recommendations of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth convened by the United Nations, and its recent global strategy, Working for health and growth: investing in the health workforce.
- Invest in food security and proper nutrition in order to support the empowerment of girls and women.
- Commit to providing equitable access to the services, education, and counseling needed to reach SDG Target 2.2 as well as the Global Targets set out in the Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition endorsed by World Health Assembly Resolution 65.6.
- Work across line ministries and with various multi-sector stakeholders to design and fund programming that leverages the interrelationship between health and food security and proper nutrition. Place particular emphasis on girls and women, who disproportionately bear the double-burden of malnutrition.
- Make the necessary financial and political investments in land rights, climate-smart agriculture, and water, sanitation and hygiene to ensure that improved health and nutrition outcomes for girls and women are sustainable.
- Make investments to ensure the health needs of girls and women in conflict and humanitarian settings are met.
- Target gender equality in aid to fragile states and conflict and humanitarian settings, with particular attention to health services for girls and women, including maternal, sexual and reproductive health services.
- Recommit to the goals of the World Humanitarian Summit, including the localization of humanitarian aid to ensure that services in conflict and humanitarian settings are context specific and reflect the needs of girls and women.
- Commit to providing the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) – a series of crucial actions required to respond to reproductive health needs at the onset of a humanitarian crisis – and adopt and implement the 2018 Interagency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings, and encourage other countries to follow suit.
- Create accountability mechanisms and frameworks to ensure that health services in humanitarian settings meet the needs of girls and women, engage local women’s groups and meet goals for localization of services, and meet the standards of MISP and the Interagency Field Manual.
Despite the progress of the MDGS, over 130 million girls are out of school today. Millions more are in school but not learning. More girls are denied an education than boys and this difference is exacerbated by poverty and conflict. Of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults, 2/3 are women. The share of illiterate women has not improved in the last 20 years despite the international community’s efforts. In low income countries only 66 girls for every 100 boys complete secondary education. Among refugee populations only half the number of girls are in secondary school compared to boys.
Even for those girls lucky enough to make it to school, disparities in quality persist. In many contexts, girls’ learning outcomes lag behind those of boys – especially where girls are from poor and marginalized communities. Of the 175 million young people living in low and lower middle income countries who are unable even to read all or part of a sentence, around 61% are young women. This leaves them unprepared for much of the workforce let alone the challenges of the 21st century jobs market.
There are specific challenges inherent in the education of Indigenous girls who live in third world conditions within first world countries. We call on the G7 to:
- Provide policy and funding support to developing and conflict-affected countries to improve access to a minimum of 12 years of free, safe, quality and gender-responsive education throughout the lifecycle from early years through adolescence and into adulthood:
- Develop and implement gender-responsive national education sector plans including better teacher training, female teacher recruitment, and gender-sensitive curricula and learning materials, including comprehensive sexuality education, removal of fees and targeted cash transfers to the girls most affected by poverty.
- Provide medium to long term ‘hot-housing’ support (technical and financial) to a limited number of developing country governments that explicitly aim to get all girls in school and learning for 12 years. This support would track progress and outcomes of education interventions in terms of gender equality, wider women’s economic empowerment and inclusive economic development, allowing funders to better target resources and developing country governments to better plan and deliver education for girls in support of economic growth and empowerment.
- Create a forum for employers and education policy-makers to identify approaches to boost female labour force participation and women’s decent work, addressing both education quality deficits and barriers to entry for young women seeking employment opportunity.
- Make schools safe and welcoming for girls through investments in transport for school journeys, secure school premises and gender-segregated, functional toilets.
- Implement policies on school-related GBV and effective interventions to combat it.
- Invest in the gathering and analysis of gender-disaggregated data in education, training and youth employment.
- Ensure that the above are properly resourced by:
- Increase the percentage of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to education. Presently the G7 average spend is only 8.4%.
- Align education ODA to support equity and the goal of “leaving no one behind” by providing a significant amount of education aid in support of basic and secondary education in the poorest countries, including in some instances the reallocation of funds for post-secondary scholarships and in-country student costs.
- Allocate sufficient percentage of education ODA to multilateral mechanisms including support for completing the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education and fully funding Education Cannot Wait to increase efficiencies, support system-building and better target countries and populations in greatest need.
- Eliminate fees and provide cash transfers to the girls most affected by poverty to cover additional school-related costs like transport.
- In conflict and humanitarian situations, ensure improved access to quality education for girls, adolescent girls and women, reducing the time that conflict and crisis situations keep children and youth, especially girls, out of school and supporting accredited, quality non-formal and accelerated education opportunities which complement formal education.
- Encourage and support all countries to spend a sufficient percentage of government budgets on education with bilateral and multilateral aid mirroring these allocations. Social spending for Indigenous girls and women must include culturally-appropriate services in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Articles 11 & 14), including but not limited to access to Indigenous language and culture.
- Support educational and parental efforts to positively transform the representation and lives of boys.
- Increase funding for research and programming of efforts in schools and sport that challenge sexist, homophobic, racist and harmful ideals of manhood and instead help create gender-equal and inclusive classrooms, gyms, and playgrounds.
- Scale up and adequately resource programs that teach parents positive discipline approaches and that help them raise boys and girls in non-sexist and gender-equitable ways.
- Promote campaigns and discussions aimed at boys and young men about healthy ideals of manhood.
Leadership and Decision-making
Despite the increasing acknowledgement of their indispensable role in state-building and corporate decision-making, women still remain largely under-represented in political and corporate leadership, at both the global and national levels. As of March 2017, of the 146 countries studied by the World Economic Forum, only 15 had a female head of state or government. At the national level, only 23% of parliamentarians were women, 18.3% of ministers were women. The corporate world reflects similar statistics—as of March 2018, there are only 24 female CEOs in the Fortune 500, and despite progress toward the target of having 20% of board seats occupied by women, globally only 15% of all board seats are filled by women. Women’s leadership in political and corporate spheres is essential to fostering decision-making that is representative, inclusive, and effective. Policies, systems, and structures that enable more women to ascend to leadership positions are paramount.
Women’s organizations and networks are powerful forces to mobilize and elevate women’s voices in politics – yet they are underfunded and face a shrinking political space. The power of collective women’s voices to catalyze action, inspire political change, and elevate women into leadership positions cannot be overstated. Youth voices – and the voices of adolescent and young girls and women – are also especially powerful in mobilizing constituencies for change. However, recently and rapidly shrinking spaces for civil society also creates shrinking spaces for women’s movements. In addition, the absence of training and the lack of resources for women’s movements and organizations limit the growth and reach of these organizations, and remain an impediment to galvanizing women’s political participation. We call on the G7 to commit to:
- Demonstrate leadership in gender parity and empowerment in G7 organization, processes, and governance.
- Commit to achieving gender parity in country, ministerial, and sherpa delegations in G7 meetings by 2025.
- Institute a G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, which can provide gender-transformative advice to G7 proceedings, ministerial meetings, and summits.
- Institute an accountability mechanism that tracks and reports on G7 performance on gender equality commitments (both direct commitments to gender equality and indirect commitments in areas such as health and education), including through the provision of data.
- Implement policies that encourage women’s leadership and ensure accountability for increasing women’s participation in politics—and encourage the adoption of similar policies in countries around the world.
- Monitor and report on progress toward increasing the proportion of seats in national parliaments, in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Target 5.5.1, and on increasing the representation of women in ministerial and elected positions, with the aim of achieving gender parity by 2030, and encourage other governments to act accordingly.
- Promote the adoption of women-friendly policies in national parliaments and regional/provincial parliaments, including those that address social potential, gender equitable parental leave policies, childcare, official hours for voting and negotiations.
- Promote women’s leadership and strong gender equality policies in the private sector.
- Create and deploy incentive mechanisms to encourage the private sector in G7 countries to increase women’s involvement in managerial and executive positions, in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Target 5.5.2, with the aim of achieving gender parity (50% female CEOs and 50% female board members) by 2030 and encourage other governments to act accordingly.
- Adopt gender-responsive public procurement policies that assess vendors on how they perform on gender equality and empowerment, and encourage and incentivize private sector entities to adopt similar standards.
- Create and enact policies – at the national political level and within corporate guidelines – that address barriers to women’s leadership, including closing the pay gap and ensuring gender-equitable leave policies.
- Promote and encourage the private sector to adopt the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and communities, to increase opportunities for women and ensure their sustainable involvement in management and directorate positions.
- Require annual reporting (“comply or explain” model) of the percentages of women and men on boards and in leadership positions.
- Set a binding series of dates to achieve gender parity on boards and in leadership positions by 2030.
- Promote legislative principles that create a safe and open environment for women’s participation in politics and other leadership positions.
- Promote and encourage laws at home and around the world to protect women in politics against violence and harassment.
- Improve women’s access to justice at home and abroad, to ensure accountability and redress for gender-based violence in politics and increase their participation and representation in the justice sector.
- Ensure that political environments are free from harassment, discrimination, and violence by improving parliamentary culture and infrastructure alongside effective accountability and redress mechanisms.
- Address socio-cultural drivers of inequality among men and women.
- Support greater involvement of all girls and women – including Indigenous girls and women, girls and women with disabilities, LGBTQI2 and gender-diverse individuals, girls and women living in rural areas, and girls and women living in fragile states and humanitarian settings – in leadership and decision-making, and address cultural challenges that prevent them from meaningful engagement in society at large.
- To overcome health, educational and resource barriers to women’s leadership and political participation, invest in childcare, and strong public health and educations programs, including women’s access to modern contraception and other reproductive health services, age-appropriate learning for individuals to establish healthy and more equitable gender norms.
- Engage boys and men, and men’s organizations and networks working on promoting gender equality by deconstructing traditional norms and harmful notions of masculinity.
- Invest in community programs and civic engagement programs for girls and women so they can cultivate a greater sense of agency and establish clearer pathways into leadership roles in the public sphere.
Women’s Rights Organizations and Movements
Women’s rights organizations and civil society movements are important catalysts of political and social change and play a crucial role in advocating for and changing laws, attitudes, behaviours, norms, and practices. These groups and movements have achieved success despite the lack of an enabling environment, both political and financial. Repressive laws and practices are shrinking the space for dialogue and engagement in some countries. And although donor aid for gender issues has grown overall, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) reports that in 2015-16 (the latest years for which data are available) funding that reached local women’s equality organizations and institutions remained less than 2% of total bilateral funding.
Women’s rights groups often reiterate the need for adaptable, flexible, and long-term funding that enables them to be opportunistic and creative, seize on trends, and adjust their campaigns accordingly—and yet donor funding frequently is not structured in a way that facilitates this dynamism. With sufficient resources and support – and if those resources could be provided in more flexible and predictable ways – these groups could improve planning, accelerate their campaigns, and build momentum for gender equality at local, national, and regional levels. In doing so, their work would also complement and mutually reinforce donors’ investments in gender equality while delivering real accountability for rights and services. We call on the G7 to:
- Provide new and additional financing for women’s rights organizations and movements, including in crisis contexts.
- Funding should be sufficiently flexible, sustained, and predictable to allow them to build their organizational capacity and react to emerging trends, opportunities, and setbacks. To be effective, funding should be directed to organizations comprised of and led by women from diverse and marginalized communities working on gender equality and should also support convening and network-building, enabling groups to build alliances across local, national, regional, and international levels.
- In recognition that investing in grassroots women’s rights organizations may represent a new approach for many donors, G7 countries should work collaboratively to develop coordinated investment approaches and mechanisms and share lessons learned in ways that minimize risk and elevate best practices.
- Facilitate the participation and leadership of women’s rights organizations representing diverse constituencies in policy dialogues and accountability mechanisms, and as partners in the design and implementation of initiatives across sectors.
- Actively advocate for greater political space and voice of civil society by engaging women’s rights organizations, together with other social justice movements, including youth and other marginalized communities with whom these groups intersect, particularly in the context of national accountability mechanisms that monitor implementation of international commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as in forums where G7 leaders can recommend or direct who is invited to participate, including at the UN, La Francophonie, the OECD, the G7, and the G20.
- Promote, advocate for and fund the inclusion of civil society, especially women’s rights groups, in national processes for the 25-year review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2019.
- Ensure greater collaboration between the G7 and the W7 to advance gender equality in the G7 and beyond.
- Work collaboratively to develop new data, partnerships, and investment practices, recognizing that for many donors, investing in women’s rights organizations may seem like a new or bureaucratically challenging approach. New investments in research and data can help to build a more robust evidence base around their impact that strengthens the overall investment case.
Gender data and statistics are essential for smart policy, and the lack of reliable gender data has hindered progress on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women. Achieving progress for girls and women is dependent upon reliable, quality, comparable data to develop evidence-based policy, track progress and hold governments accountable to the SDGs agenda.
The current state of missing or insufficient gender data underpins all other challenges related to advancing gender equality. In too many areas, disaggregated data doesn’t exist at all, or data collection is “sexist”, leaving girls and women out of the data collection process, or masking intersecting inequalities. Currently, we have less than a third of the data needed to assess the status of gender equality in the 2030 SDGs agenda, even less of this is recent data. As a result, girls and women remain undervalued and undercounted. Lack of gender data about men, for example on father’s participation in parenting, is also a barrier to develop gender-equality and transformative policies.
The problem is exacerbated by gaps in political will, funding, and capacity. Society typically only measures what it values. Only 13% of countries dedicate a budget to gender statistics and many lack the national strategies and training needed to ensure robust gender data collection. ‘No data’ and ‘bad data’ on girls and women have costly development consequences for women and for society, such as errors in program design, policy limitations or an inability to track progress and measure results. Without improvements to gender data and accountability, we will not have access to reliable, quality data to inform inclusive gender equality programs or measure progress in the SDG agenda. The G7 has a unique role to play in leveraging their leadership and convening power to increase funding and salience for gender data and accountability. We call on the G7 to:
- Increase the percentage of ODA going to development data (currently at 0.3%), and mandate the inclusion of better age and sex-disaggregated data production across National Statistical Offices.
- Increased funding for gender data must include: increased staff positions and prioritization of gender data within National Statistics Offices, larger samples to allow for sex and gender disaggregation, improving existing survey instruments to correct gender bias, and new data collection efforts on policy relevant topics not covered currently (e.g. intimate partner violence, women’s informal labor, sub-national political participation, etc).
- Undertake special efforts to improve the availability, quality and use of gender data in crisis contexts.
- Require gender data collection and use with all countries receiving bilateral support – specifically, calling for integration of gender data into country data collection, and the use of gender data for evidence-based policymaking at the country level.
- Step up support to civil registration and vital statistics and linkage to ID programs to ensure equal access for girls and women to these foundational data systems, which enable access to government services and facilitate full participation in civic and economic life.
- Support efforts to strengthen the use of gender data by policymakers within G7 countries and at the global level, by working with independent civil society organizations, including stronger communication of gender data insights for use by women’s movements.
- Collect intersectional data that is disaggregated beyond age and sex in order to track progress made by policies and investments dedicated to promoting gender equality amongst all marginalized groups of girls, women and gender diverse people.
Women’s economic empowerment is a pre-requisite for inclusive and equitable economic growth. A powerful lever for change, women’s economic empowerment can drive gender equality outcomes and broader intergenerational benefits for women, their children, households and communities. Evidence tells us that women who are economically empowered have greater access to income and economic assets, better control over their own economic gains and more equitable decision-making power to translate these gains into social, economic, and health benefits for themselves and their families.
However, girls and women face differential barriers because of the ways that poverty and inequality are deeply inter-twined. This interconnection is evident across multiple levels in terms of: how women in low-income households experience poverty; the way that power is brokered in communities; the entrenched biases in systems and structures that can exclude and harm women (e.g. economic, agricultural, financial, or market systems).
We know that economic growth does not always ‘lift all boats’: We know that as low-income countries make strides towards greater productivity, girls and women living in poverty do not always benefit from the rising tide of human and economic development. Economies are not automatically inclusive, beneficial or equitable. When left unchecked, the market forces driving economic growth will not necessarily expand decent economic opportunities for women. We need deliberate tactics to ensure women are not left behind.
Economic losses are not distributed gender equitably: When poor households must adjust to micro economic shocks or periods of economic fragility, it is girls and women who disproportionately absorb the consequences in ways that have far-reaching effects on their lives and futures. Evidence shows that macro-economic policies and austerity measures have a gender-differential negative impact on the health and well-being of girls and women. Girls and women often suffer first, worst and recover last from micro and macro-economic shocks, and have less support to build resilience, smooth household consumption, or buffer against risks.
Women face multiple barriers to participating equitably in economies: Around the world, and especially in developing countries including Indigenous communities, women face barriers that limit their beneficial participation in the economy, including access to income-earning opportunities, constraints to owning productive assets or to selling goods at markets, and limited usage of financial services like mobile bank accounts and payment systems that would support women to control economic resources directly. As a result, millions of the poorest girls and women are left behind when it comes to enjoying decent working conditions, earning a fair income, experiencing the gains of greater prosperity, having a voice in family, workplace and community, and shaping the course of their own lives.
We need to tackle gender and economic inequality together by reshaping our economies so that they work for, and include, women. These inequalities intersect with other inequalities such as age, race and the discrimination faced by Indigenous peoples. Interventions miss the mark when they ignore the vast heterogeneity among women. Wealth of the richest that is spiraling at the top of the economy is linked to the poverty and marginalization faced by women at the base of the economic pyramid in the most precarious, unsafe and exploitative jobs.
I. Inclusive and equitable
We recognize that to advance gender equality in society, the barriers to girls and women’s economic opportunity must be addressed. Both the symptoms, and the structural drivers of poverty and inequality must be tackled for economies to be inclusive and for girls and women to stand a chance at living healthy, productive lives to their fullest potential. Vocational or business skills alone are insufficient: it is critical to recognize and address the barriers that constrain and distort the economic opportunities available to women. The unequal distribution of unpaid care work remains one of the persistent barriers to women’s economic advancement across the world. Sexual and reproductive health rights, including access to family planning, are a fundamental enabler of women’s economic empowerment.
Women face barriers to accessing productive and economic resources because of the entrenched biases in structures and systems, such as financial, market, agricultural and legal systems. For example, women engage with formal financial institutions less and represent more of the world’s unbanked population. Female entrepreneurs face unique barriers to securing capital or resources, often relegating them to smaller, home-based enterprises in low-growth sectors. Discrimination in law or policy can make it harder for women to own land or property, sign a contract, open a bank account or formally register a business.
For economies to be inclusive and equitable, it is not just the objective dimensions of economic empowerment that matter, such as asset ownership or income. Agency (the capacity to make decisions and take purposeful action) is essential and does not necessarily follow on from increases in income or assets alone. One in three married women in developing countries does not have a say in household spending. It is critical to ensure that women have the self-reliance to take economic risks, define their economic future, and have sufficient bargaining power in the household and in the workplace.
We recognize that inclusive and equitable economic growth that benefits girls and women goes hand in hand with gender equality, and requires clear action and commitments to:
- Integrate gender-based analysis, gender-responsive budgeting and gender auditing in policy development and implementation
- Increase women’s financial inclusion
- Recognize, Reduce and Re-distribute Unpaid care and domestic work
- Adopt a feminist approach to international development assistance and blended finance
Gender-based analysis, gender-responsive budgeting and gender-auditing
Fiscal policy tools can have a tremendous impact on gender equality. Implementing commitments towards gender equality requires technical capacity and intentional measures to incorporate a gender perspective in planning and budgeting framework, and in policy and program development. Government expenditure and taxation are not gender-neutral; for instance, the services capable of improving the lives of girls and women are often under-funded. It is essential that action is taken to raise adequate revenue through tax systems in which everyone pays their fair share, and evasion and avoidance are eliminated. By combining gender-responsive budgeting and a gender-responsive public financial management framework, governments can direct finance to improve the lives of girls and women. Gender-responsive budgeting demonstrates authentic leadership in gender equality. We call on the G7 to:
- Integrate gender-based analysis, gender-responsive budgeting and gender-auditing throughout policy development and implementation.
- Make gender analysis mandatory to the budget cycle by adopting permanent, participatory and transparent approaches to gender analysis and budgeting, introducing legislation to enshrine it in government’s’ budgetary and financial management processes, from budget preparation to auditing, including both taxation and expenditure. Report on progress via Sustainable Development Goal 5.c and related internationally agreed indicator, 5.c.1.
- Conduct gender impact assessments of all tax and expenditure policies and modify any that are not gender-equitable. These impact assessments should include impacts on women across different social groups: for instance, by income, ethnicity/race, and location, with attention to the most disadvantaged girls and women.
- Prioritize financing at home and abroad that addresses the structural barriers to gender equality. Such structural barriers include inequalities in the care economy, access to infrastructure and decent work opportunities, and access to credit and financing, which limit women’s economic participation and empowerment.
- Call for the immediate creation of a global mechanism dedicated to providing short and long-term technical assistance on gender budgeting and gender-responsive policy; and commit to providing resources for the mechanism. This global mechanism should be integrated into existing structures at UN Women, the IMF, World Bank and OECD.
- Include as a regular part of budget and policy development, a feminist-informed gender analysis of men and masculinities and pay attention to marginalized groups of boys and men, including racialized and ethnic minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQI2 and gender diverse, economically-marginalized, members of religious minorities, and those boys and men facing physical or mental challenges.
Access and use of financial products and services is an essential part of inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction, and women’s economic empowerment. Providing low-income women with the right financial tools to save and borrow money, make and receive payments and manage risk is important for women’s empowerment, but also for poverty reduction.
Access to financial products and services enables women to save, invest in education, start businesses, manage risk and mitigate the impact of financial shocks. Women’s financial inclusion can also stimulate increases in women’s labor force participation. However, in many countries women remain underserved by financial services and face barriers to accessing and using appropriate financial products and services.
Although meaningful gains have been made towards greater financial inclusion across the globe, a gender gap in bank account ownership persists: women are not making gains relative to men, especially in low and middle-income economies. Globally, 65 percent of women have banked, compared with 72 percent of men, a gender gap of 7 percentage points. In developing economies, the gender gap remains unchanged at 9 percentage points. Digital financial services (DFS) offer innovative platforms to address this gender gap in financial exclusion, and digital payments have emerged as a promising tool for and entry point to expand women’s digital account ownership. Recognizing the importance of ensuring women have increased access to and use of digital financial services, provided this is supported by appropriate consumer protection regulation, so that they can make their own decisions about spending, saving money, and building their financial future, we call on the G7 to:
- Increase women’s financial inclusion, supported by adequate financial regulations and commit to closing the financial inclusion gender gap in account ownership by taking the following actions.
- Digitize Government-to-People social protection welfare transfer payments to women. Ensure funds are directed into mobile bank accounts held by women, and design payment systems and social protection programs to meet the needs of women.
- Accelerate closure of the DFS gender gap through Government-to-People (G2P) payments, including by digitizing wage payments in sectors that disproportionately serve women. In the developing world, approximately 100 Million unbanked women receive wage payments in cash, making this an opportunity to expand women’s financial inclusion.
- Ensure that consumer protections are put in place that safeguard women’s financial interests and future, through effective regulation of financial products and financial markets.
- Take into account the importance of women migrants’ remittances by improving formal remittance transfer methods and reducing transfer costs within both the countries of origin and destination.
- Call for scaled up national efforts to collect and publicly report sex-disaggregated data on women’s access and use of financial products and services, so that all stakeholders have a clear picture of the gender gap in financial inclusion, and endorse the Findex which measures the gender gap in financial inclusion as an essential contributor.
- Work with the private sector to increase capital to women-owned or led supply chain entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs with significant percentage of women in their workforces or supply chains that provide quality jobs and pathways to economic advancement, through innovative financing vehicles, bringing together DFI and private capital.
Recognize, Reduce and Redistribute unpaid domestic and care work
Unpaid domestic and care work (UCW)—which includes domestic work and direct care of other persons—has enormous but largely unrecognized value: it is estimated to be worth $10 trillion, equivalent to nearly 13% of GDP, globally. In every part of the world, especially in developing countries, women do a disproportionate amount of UCW: women do three times as much UCW as men and, nearly seven extra years over the course of a lifetime. The disproportionate amount of UCW that girls and women bear is a critical constraint to women’s economic empowerment, equal pay, and ultimately a nation’s economic growth. It limits girls’ and women’s preparation for, and participation in school, the workforce, her pay, her career progress, and influences the power and agency women can exercise at home and beyond. Accessible child and elder care and investment in the care economy are a universal issue, and a precondition for women’s economic empowerment. We call on the G7 to:
- Recognize unpaid domestic and care work through improved data collection and use of data in policy making.
- Ensure regular time use surveys to reveal the extent of unpaid domestic and care work carried out by different groups of girls and women, boys and men, disaggregated by factors such as income, ethnicity/race and location, with attention to the most disadvantaged girls and women.
- Ensure that this data is used in design of policies so that unpaid domestic and care work is not inadvertently increased by expenditure cuts, and so that the design of social protection systems reveal the unpaid contribution that girls and women make to economies and societies.
- Reduce unpaid domestic and care work by investing in the development of culturally appropriate, accessible, affordable, gender-responsive time and energy-saving infrastructure, technology and housing.
- Develop and maintain water and sanitation infrastructure, energy and transport infrastructure.
- Support development of labor saving devices, especially those that can reduce the drudgery of low income women; and investment in affordable housing.
- Redistribute unpaid domestic and care services between families and the public sector and between girls and women and boys and men by investing in culturally appropriate, accessible, high quality care services, and gender-equitable social protection systems.
- Invest in universal publicly financed early childhood education and care services, and care for elderly people; and ensure that businesses and not-for-profit organizations offering care services are well-regulated.
- Ensure that high-quality childcare is universally available and affordable for all preschoolers.
- Ensure decent wages and working conditions for paid care providers, which must include ratifying ILO Convention 189 on the protection of paid domestic workers.
- Social protection systems should accelerate institutional support enabling both men and women caregivers to balance paid and unpaid work on a gender-equal basis.
- Institute or improve paid parental leave programs to support all eligible families to take leave when children are young.
- Set a goal of men doing fifty percent of unpaid domestic and care work within a generation and institute non-transferable parental leave and public education efforts to achieve this goal.
- Provide flexibility in the timing of paid parental leave programs, and cover a broad range of parents, including self-employed, marginally employed, part-time and same-sex partners
- Encourage the private sector and public sector employers to institute policies and programs to encourage male employees to take parental leave and pursue opportunities for greater work-life balance.
Feminist Approach to International Assistance
A feminist approach to development assistance has the power to transform societies. By embracing a feminist approach to aid, the G7 can tackle unequal gendered power relations as a core strategy to bring about transformational change. Ultimately, a feminist approach must challenge systemic inequality, unjust power systems, discriminatory laws, policies and programs – at local, national, regional and global levels. A feminist approach to development assistance prioritizes women’s rights and gender equality in policy, programming and partnerships; it emphasizes learning, collaboration, participation, inclusivity, and responsiveness in its processes and partnerships; and recognizes the central role women’s rights organizations play in catalyzing change towards gender equality.
Governments are increasingly looking towards private-public partnerships- or blended finance – for international assistance. While blended finance can contribute towards achieving the SDGs, it is imperative that donor countries do not see blended finance as a replacement for ODA. Donors must also ensure that the same principles and frameworks that they have signed to ensure the quality of traditional ODA are applied to blended finance. So far, there is very little evidence of the impact of private financing on sustainable development outcomes, and some models of financing risk increasing inequality or vulnerability. If blended finance leads to public services being privatized, this can increase inequalities in accessing these services. The most effective way to support inclusive growth and reduce gender inequality is public investment in public services such as health and education. We call on the G7 to:
- Adopt a feminist approach to development assistance and measurably increase resources for its implementation
- Donors should commit to spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on ODA and put in place plans to reach these targets and support domestic resource mobilization to ensure public investment in public services such as health and education.
- Adhere to sustainable development and development effectiveness principles to ensure private finance blending supports sustainable development and gender equality.
- Adopt a feminist approach to international assistance by making gender equality a standalone objective and mainstream it throughout all development assistance policies and programs.
- Apply a feminist approach to research, partnership, monitoring and evaluation and invest in increased gender equality and women’s rights capacity of staff. A feminist approach to international assistance focuses on the transformational aspect of mainstreaming ensuring programs address power imbalances and structural barriers.
- Measurably increase investment for gender equality and track spending and impact on gender equality.
- Ensure that 20 percent of all aid investments have as their principal focus advancing women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality and 100 percent of aid investments include at least a secondary objective of advancing gender equality. Dedicate increased resources to women’s rights organizations and movements, which are long-term, predictable and provides core support. Adopt meaningful indicators that measure transformational change and adopt the OECD-DAC gender equality marker to screen to ODA.
- Invest in universal gender-sensitive social protection systems that lift women out of poverty and support all women in dealing with risks over the life course.
- Ensure that women in the informal economy enjoy social protection. Re-commit to delivering a universal social protection floor, in line with ILO Convention 102 and ILO Recommendation 202, to ensure the most marginalized have a safety net and strengthen resilience to respond to shocks in the economy, support basic consumption, and graduation from poverty.
- Prioritize private finance investments that address structural inequality and promote gender equality
- Commit to investing in technology and infrastructure which reduces and redistributes unpaid care work and focus on how to catalyse investment in social infrastructure such as child care services, urban public transportation, rural feeder roads, safe water for domestic use, which create new jobs and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- Support projects where private sector engagement has the potential to scale up new markets that can benefit people living in poverty and support small- and medium-sized and women led enterprises.
II. Innovative and productive
The economy in the short and medium term will be shaped by frontier technologies. Gender equality will be key to an inclusive transformation. Robotics and artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D printing, internet of things and wearable internet, and machine learning are at the heart of this global digital transformation towards a World 2.0. The market for AI, big data and business analytics is set to grow to US$210 billion by 2020, and by 2021, 90% of consumers will be engaging with Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots. This will have major impacts on money, payments and markets and with increased emphasis on fintech and cybersecurity. Automation (replacing people with technology) is expected to spread across sectors and occupations, including those traditionally dominated by women (e.g. retail trade, food and beverage services).
Other women-dominated jobs, such as health, business services, education and social services, are expected to grow. However, the main challenge of the future will not necessarily be automation and unemployment, but rather effective matching of people with the skills required by the market. This will require continuous adaptation and a willingness to learn, reskill and upskill oneself. In the G7, reskilling will be required at the range of 48% in Italy, to 29% in the US and 25% in Japan. In this context, girls and women need to be equipped to take advantage of the expansion of the economy, learn how to use technology in their private and professional lives, as well as become the technology creators and innovators of the future.
Within this context, girls and women need to be equipped to take advantage of the expansion of the economy, learn how to use technology in their private and professional lives, as well as become the technology creators and innovators of the future. We call on the G7 to:
- Ensure girls and women reap the benefits of digital transformation.
- Revise primary and secondary school curricula to make them more agile and responsive to frontier technologies and make targeted efforts to engage girls by 2020.
- Invest in and roll out teacher training for them to become competent in embedding technology in a gender-sensitive manner in all subjects they teach by 2020.
- Establish online/offline life-long learning institutes that support women’s strengthened STEAM-D (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and design) skills and digital literacy and expertise in both sectors facing automation as well as sectors driven by frontier technologies.
- Increase girls’ and women’s access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and skills training that is certified and demand-driven and that builds women’s skills for jobs for the future and support developing countries to build the necessary infrastructure to enable their students to learn digital literacy skills in schools and colleges.
- Create a facility aimed at bridging knowledge gaps between national policy-makers, the private sector and donors on the implications of the knowledge economy – digital technology, artificial intelligence and automation – for girls’ education and what is needed through education to help them access decent work and the jobs of the future.
- Develop behaviour-change campaigns to significantly shift attitudes towards girls and women in technology and stereotypes about them.
- Facilitate annual dialogues and action plans for close collaboration between policy-makers, educators and the private sector to unite around effective measures for a gender inclusive digital transformation.
- Ensure that AI technologies are gender-responsive and do not reproduce existing gender biases
- Fund de-biasing research and assess the gender impact of automation, which would include research programs that seek to address machine learning bias, including through Artificial Intelligence Strategies that would encourage rights-promoting AI research, including de-biasing for machine learning systems and developing business models which support quality jobs.
- Fund research that assesses the gender implications of AI, including preventing the potential for AI to perpetuate and exacerbate existing inequalities and injustices, and misuse.
- Support education, training and reskilling on digital literacy and AI and exchange information on workforce development for AI skills, including apprenticeships, computer science and STEM education, especially for girls and women.
- Engage private employers and professional regulatory bodies and international organizations to develop: a) a certification mechanism for human rights and gender equality compliant AI; and b) a professional ethical oath for computer engineers and software designers in partnership with universities and colleges.
- Conduct gender impact assessments of AI design and implementation with the view to make clear recommendations to AI industry leaders, developers and users.
- Promote safe, secure, reliable and ethical AI applications in the marketplace, workplace and community and exchange information about regulations having an impact on AI growth.
- Support and involve women and underrepresented populations /marginalized communities as creators, stakeholders, leaders and decision makers at all stages of technological development and implementation in order to develop tools that benefit all sectors of society.
- Recognize and address the role that the ‘data in exchange for services’ commercial model that currently characterizes digital networks and technologies plays in shaping the labour environment in ways that maintain and sustain gender inequality and discrimination.
- Improve regulation of online service providers and technology platforms to mandate greater transparency and accountability in their collection, use and distribution of user’s data, and in the development of new technologies. This will become increasingly urgent as service providers and technology developers continue to move toward machine-based algorithmic decision-making, which could compromise the ability to provide explanations for decisions and impacts in terms that are accessible, accountable and transparent.
- Ensure that models of informed consent underpins the development and implementation of new technologies.
Pay Equity and Decent Work
The higher economic productivity and growth promised by emerging technology could be complemented by pay equity legislation which is monitored and enforced by the government. We call on the G7 governments to recognize that pay disparities are higher for women with disabilities, racialized and Indigenous women, further compounding pay inequities and act to eliminate the existing disparities. We call on the G7 to:
- Ensure equal pay for equal work, and the creation of decent work with dignified and safe conditions through social dialogue and collective bargaining which include Workers Rights Organizations.
- Enact pay equity legislation which is monitored and enforced.
- Ensure pay equity legislation includes provisions that prohibit companies from asking incoming employees about their previous salary in order to ensure that women are not be penalized for their gendered wage gap, and that all genders negotiate their salary based on merit.
- Ensure laws are in place that prohibit discrimination against women in hiring, training and promotions and repeal laws that restrict women’s access to certain occupations.
- Recognize that pay disparities are higher for women with disabilities, racialized and Indigenous women further compounding pay inequities.
- Enact legislation whereby companies found to be non-compliant with pay equity legislation must pay fines to ensure compliance with pay equity laws. The top 100 firms who demonstrate compliance are eligible for tax breaks.
- Require all employers with more than 250 employees to annually and publicly report sex-disaggregated pay and bonuses, both in the company as a whole and at different levels of management.
- Complement pay equity efforts by ensuring social dialogue and the extension of collective bargaining rights, particularly for women in low wage and precarious work.
- Incentivize the private sector to achieve pay equality for women and men in the company as a whole and at all levels of management by 2030 with penalties for not complying and adopt a “comply or explain” model of reporting on pay equity.
- Increase support of labour rights and collective action to ensure decent work and living wages for women and people of diverse gender identities.
- Ensure that labour laws include equal pay for work of equal value on the basis of gender.
- Create provisions within labour laws that protect against gender and sexuality discrimination.
- Create an enabling legal environment for informal workers (and those in vulnerable employment), extending workers’ rights and entitlements and recognizing rights to secure housing and land tenure and access to public space, raw materials, natural resources, transport and basic infrastructures and services.
- Enable women’s life-long access to education, training and mentoring, including on the job training to upgrade their skills and training in non-traditional skills to support them to move up the occupational ladder.
- Reduce the gender gap in the labor force participation by 25% by 2025.
For girls and women to thrive, and inclusive economies to grow sustainably, the planet needs to be healthy and secure.
Climate change and environmental degradation represent a great threat to poverty reduction, gender equality and to achieving the SDGs. They impact health, food security, nutrition, production, migration, and earnings. Given many women’s roles in agricultural production and as the procurers and consumers of water, cooking fuel, and other household resources, they are not only well suited to find solutions to prevent further degradation and adapt to the changing climate—they have a vested interest in doing so. The first step towards tackling the challenges of climate change is to create a backdrop against which women are empowered to safeguard the environment.
Climate change, combined with other factors such as global health pandemics and the spread of armed conflicts and violent extremism, are changing the scale, nature and complexity of threats to peace and security. Women constitute half of all people forcibly displaced yet there is a persistent gender bias and under-investment in gender equality in humanitarian assistance. Despite the increasing recognition that women’s participation in peace processes results in a more sustainable peace, the contribution of girls and women to peacebuilding and consolidation of peace remains undervalued, under-utilized and under-resourced.
While climate change impacts everyone, girls and women bear the greatest burden and are disproportionally affected by climate change compared to men due to gender inequalities and discrimination and a variety of other reasons. During periods of drought and erratic rainfall, for example, women must work harder to secure food, water, and cooking fuel for their families. This puts added pressure on the girls within households, who may be forced to drop out of school to help their mothers manage the heavier burden.
Given many women’s roles in agricultural production and as the procurers and consumers of water, cooking fuel, and other household resources, they are not only well suited to find solutions to prevent further degradation and adapt to the changing climate—they have a vested interest in doing so. The first step towards tackling the challenges of climate change is to create a backdrop against which women are empowered to safeguard the environment.
Of the 60 million people displaced around the world, it is estimated that 26 million of those people are displaced due to climate related issues. Of those estimates, approximately 20 million of the displaced are women, demonstrating one of the gendered consequences of climate change. Each year, weather related disasters due to climate change are estimated to displace 1 million people. Some studies have also shown that climate-related disasters have resulted in an increase in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including sexual harassment and violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
The stakes of keeping the increase in global average temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius and strengthening the resilience of families and communities in the face of climate change have never been higher for the global community. However, this goal will be unachievable without women’s leadership, agency and knowledge. This need for collective action is reflected in the Paris Agreement, which complements the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agreement calls on all States to “respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, …… as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity” when taking action on climate change. Both documents share the vision of gender equality as an end in itself, as well as a means to achieving sustainable development.
Climate leadership and participation
Ensuring women’s leadership, agency, participation and voice in global, national and community climate decision-making processes is essential to climate action and gender-responsive disaster-risk reduction.
- We call on the G7 to:
- Ensure gender balance at all levels in national delegations participating in climate negotiations.
- Lend political support to meetings of women climate leaders, including by hosting a ‘Women climate leaders’ solidarity event’ at COP 24.
- Provide resources for capacity-building and participation of grassroots and Indigenous women in global processes as called for in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Gender Action Plan.
- Support efforts to ensure that women’s voices are at the heart of disaster-risk management.
- Empower women to leverage the benefits of low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, including by ensuring women benefit equally from access to new technologies and by ensuring women’s leadership, agency, participation and voice in global, national and community climate decision-making processes.
Gender-responsive climate financing
Women’s access to climate financing plays a crucial role in adequately identifying and integrating gender considerations into climate action. We call on the G7 to:
- Support the robust implementation and continued strengthening of gender policies and action plans of multilateral climate financing mechanisms including the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environmental Facility.
- Advocate for consistent gender impact assessment of all climate financing instruments.
- Advocate for the allocation of 15% of all climate funds for programs that directly engage and benefit women.
- Pursue a gender-responsive approach to climate financing at the national and global level, including by establishing monitoring frameworks to measure the outcomes and impacts of climate financing on women and men.
Just transition: gender equality in low carbon and climate resilient economies
A just, inclusive and sustainable transition to low-carbon economies needs to enhance the co-benefits of integrated action on climate change and gender equality. We call on the G7 to:
- Empower women to leverage the benefits of low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, including sustainable agriculture and energy solutions.
- Adopt/update transition strategies that are gender-responsive, target the creation of decent jobs for women, and expand women’s access to educational and skill development opportunities in the emerging low carbon economy.
- Support women entrepreneurs to invest in sustainable technologies by improving their access to credit and equity through targeted national funds and tax incentives.
- Ensure that technological transformations do not aggravate existing gender inequalities, and that women benefit equally from access to new technologies to adapt to low-carbon economies and the ongoing digitalization of the economy.
- Strengthen the availability of data disaggregated by sex and age, including in national datasets such as consumer information reports, to identify the areas in which technology-related gender inequalities occur.
- Establish a high-level advisory forum to examine the differentiated impact of technological changes in basic services, such as energy, among women and men.
- Strengthen the capacity of girls and women in STEM, especially in areas of sustainable renewable energy, low-carbon technologies, and digital and non-traditional data solutions, to increase their active contribution to research and innovation for a low-carbon economy.
- Develop public outreach and awareness initiatives targeted at girls and women, through governments and academic institutions, to encourage their active participation in various educational and skill development opportunities available in STEM.
- Institute national fellowships and tuition waivers to women students in STEM programs.
- Review the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement submitted by the G7 countries by 2020 to identify and outline entry-points for gender mainstreaming in the national level implementation of the Agreement, while ensuring that gender considerations are integrated into the development and implementation of long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.
Gender equality is the number one predictor of peace – more so than a state’s wealth or level of democracy. Peace and everyday security for women is the core of building just, peaceful and sustainable societies. A more peaceful and secure world means that girls and women have a future free from abuse, exploitation and violence. To strengthen their leadership in building peace, establishing security and supporting sustainable development, G7 members must understand that security goes beyond the contexts of war and armed conflict to include human security and everyday safety. G7 countries must build their own national capacities to improve women’s security domestically.
Civil society organizations, in particular local, grassroots women’s organizations, play a critical role in successful peace and security work. These organizations have access to information and networks that governments cannot always reach easily and are vital to attaining peaceful and sustainable solutions to conflicts and addressing violence.
Although UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) on Women, Peace and Security, adopted in 2000, provides a strong normative framework, ineffective implementation and lack of accountability persist, largely due to a lack of sufficient funding for the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The 2015 Global Study on Women, Peace and Security (Global Study) notes that there is a “consistent, striking disparity between policy commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the financial allocations to achieve them”. The statistics are stark: as of July 2016, approximately 15% (9 of 61) of national action plans include an allocated budget and only 2% of aid to peace and security for fragile states in 2012-2013 targeted gender equality. And yet, the global military budget in 2015 equaled $1.6 trillion. The funding that does exist is often specific to short-term projects rather than core funding, and organizations are required to spend significant time fundraising for additional, critical resources. Several UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security, including UNSCR 2242 (2015), recognize the essential role civil society plays in implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and call on Member States to increase their funding for civil society organizations.
- We call on the G7 to:
- Provide adequate and predictable budget resources for frontline grassroots women’s organizations involved in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction, and to do so in a way that encourages collaboration amongst such frontline women’s groups.
- Target 50% of G7 funding to conflict-affected countries specifically for women, peace and security activities.
- Include budget plans for all National Action Plans on women, peace and security by 2020, and report periodically to the UN on their implementation.
- Ensure that any G7 initiatives on women, peace and security are based on mutual learning approaches.
In the 31 major peace processes conducted worldwide between 1992 and 2011, women represented just 9% of negotiators, 4% of signatories, 3.7% of witnesses and 2.4% of chief mediators. The Global Study has reported that women’s participation in peace processes increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years by 20%, and the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years by 35%. The Women, Peace and Security agenda emphasizes that women’s participation and influence, as well as the integration of gender equality concerns and perspectives, in decision-making around peace processes improve the chances of attaining a durable peace. As such, women are also agents of change rather than solely seen as victims of conflict. Furthermore, peace agreements are 64% less likely to fail when civil society representatives participate.
- We call on the G7 to:
- Adopt a target whereby at least one in every three appointments of mediators is a woman and nominate women to key positions such as senior/chief mediator and special envoy.
- Conduct security sector reform to include oversight and accountability mechanisms (potentially using sanctions), and strengthen gender expertise in this area.
- Integrate gender advisors into the operational planning processes for G7 military forces so as to assist in securing local support, and ensuring safety and projecting stability.
- Ensure a minimum of one gender advisor per political, peacebuilding or multi-dimensional peacekeeping mission they are involved in by 2020, and ensure they are an integral part of mission strategies, planning and decision-making.
- Use their political leverage to ensure that women’s organizations are invited to peace negotiating tables, and that their voices are included and listened to throughout peace processes.
Building a more peaceful and secure world requires an increased commitment to preventing conflict and violent extremism. Prevention requires both short-term approaches, including establishing peaceful early warning and conflict prevention strategies, and long-term approaches addressing the root causes of conflict, including gender and economic inequalities, sexual and gender-based violence, environmental degradation, and mass migration. The Global Study notes that the security of women is one of the most reliable indicators of the peacefulness of a state. It is crucial to integrate gender equality and intersectionality considerations into early warning and conflict prevention measures, and increase the role of grassroots women’s organizations in building community resiliency.
- We call on the G7 to:
- Ensure that G7 discussions and actions on peace and security reflect human security, and provide adequate and predictable budget resources for frontline grassroots women’s organizations involved in conflict prevention and mitigation, conflict resolution, peace negotiation and post-conflict reconstruction.
- Incorporate a gender dimension into multi-disciplinary approaches to counter violent extremism and address the intersections between domestic and international violent extremism and sexual and gender-based violence.
- Increase the role of women and women’s organizations in their work towards conflict prevention and countering violent extremism, including in building community resiliency.
- Prioritize funds for gender equality, community development, and women’s participation, including by those most marginalized, when making decisions about conflict prevention.
- Commit to the regular collection, analysis and use of data disaggregated along intersectional gender lines to inform domestic and G7 decision making.
Women’s presence in the security sector has been found to significantly lower rates of complaints of misconduct, significantly lower rates of improper use of force, or inappropriate use of weapons, and are less authoritarian in their interactions with citizens and lower ranking officers. The Global Study highlights that women in peacekeeping operations have been found to increase the credibility of forces, gain access to communities and vital information, and lead to an increase in reporting of sexual and gender based crimes. Although many security actors have introduced a range of reforms, guidance and training to integrate gender equality into their activities, impactful transformations in military structures and military cultures, beyond greater awareness, still wanes. The Global Study has found that, on average, only 3% of the military in UN missions are women, and the majority of these are employed as support staff. There are almost 7,000 international civilian staff in UN field missions, and less than 30% are women (with only 20% in senior management positions). Among national staff, which make up an even larger share of the workforce in missions, the percentage of women is only 17.
- We call on the G7 to:
- Support the development of international-level guidance (UN or NATO) on recommended changes to military operational planning doctrine and command and control systems, so as to ensure that national militaries genuinely involve and collaborate with civil society organizations, particularly local, community-based and women’s organizations, early in and throughout the planning and deployment of peace operations.
- Develop a series of recommendations on how to consider the careful and appropriate ways in which to ensure at least 15% of local hires by international forces and missions are women, either by changing the nature of the work required, or by developing innovative ways in which work in support of military operations is conducted.
- Increase their national-level abilities for punitive action against their respective nationals in the conduct of peace building or conflict operations in any country to protect women working alongside contracted security providers, law enforcement officers and military from sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual and gender-based violence and harm.
- Ensure that all national militaries undertake scenario-based training on gender equality in peace operations, and on preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Protection of Women’s Human Rights in conflict
The UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, and gender-based violence increases in conflict settings. The specific protection needs of refugees or internally displaced girls and women are particularly emphasized as SGBV can occur during the various stages of displacement. More than 70% of women have experienced SGBV in some crisis settings. “Protection” is not the same as “security”, although often associated with it. Women and men experience security differently and focus should be on determining what girls and women need in order to safely participate in society. For instance, surveys reveal that women have less access to justice in conflict-affected countries, which is a contributing factor to impunity for sexual violence against girls and women. More than half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in conflict-affected and fragile states, with the 10 worst-performing countries on maternal mortality all either conflict or post-conflict countries. Moreover, the International Criminal Court has issued 3 verdicts so far, but no conviction has been made for SGBV.
- We call on the G7, in conflict-affected and crisis-related settings, to:
- Combat impunity for violations of women’s rights, and ensure that all human rights violations are properly investigated, prosecuted and punished by bringing the perpetrators to justice, and by prohibiting blanket amnesties for any human rights violations especially sexual violence against girls and women.
- Allocate sufficient funds to implement the rule of law and programs to improve gender-sensitive access to justice.
- Ensure adequate protection measures for victims and witnesses.
- Provide protection and assistance for internally displaced and refugee girls and women, and address their specific risks and particular needs.