World leaders can (and should) ensure a feminist G7 Summit

As the world anxiously awaits the start of this year’s critical G7 Summit, the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC), an expert body of global gender champions, has laid down a challenge to world leaders. They’ve created a series of recommendations to drive gender equality, empower women and girls, and ensure that this year marks the world’s first truly feminist G7.

This report—released just days ahead of the Summit’s opening in Biarritz—illuminates the precarious situation facing women and girls worldwide. From accessing quality education to receiving equitable health care, from pursuing fair economic opportunities to living a life free from violence, this report highlights the critical and crippling barriers women and girls face each day.

Delivering Real Change

As we at ONE have long championed, addressing these challenges and delivering real gender equality will require leaders to deliver on three levels:

  1. Legislative and policy change
  2. Financial commitments
  3. A robust accountability framework

The GEAC report addresses each of these pillars and shares brilliant recommendations for world leaders, especially on the legislative and financial side.

Some highlights include a call for G7 leaders (and their partners from across the world) to deliver at a minimum one new progressive law that fights inequality and advances the rights of women and girls, signed, sealed, and delivered before next year’s Summit.

To support these changes, the GEAC also recognises the need for more funding to fight gender equality, urging countries to allocate 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA). The report also calls on donor countries to make sure that at least 85% of this aid contributes to gender equality, a key commitment that leaders must make if we are to see real gender equality achieved.

But the truth is that legislation and funding are not enough.

Progress Not Promises

For too long, we’ve seen empty words and broken commitments. That’s why we need to ensure leaders are held accountable for what they commit and that the G7 summit delivers progress, and not promises, for women and girls around the world.

To achieve this, we need an innovative, independent accountability mechanism which tracks progress against commitments, and holds leaders to account on what they have promised.

Whilst the GEAC report acknowledges the importance of such a framework, its recommendations must go further if we are to stop countries whitewashing their reporting, or blocking civil society scrutiny. Only with an independent group of experts reporting on progress, an engaged civil society with an equal seat at the table, and all countries (not just wealthy G7 nations) held to account, will this become the game-changing mechanism the world so clearly needs.

Based on current estimates, it will be another 108 years until gender equality is achieved worldwide. This year, world leaders have the opportunity to do something about these startling statistics. By choosing gender equality as its primary goal, the G7 has raised great hopes for women and girls worldwide and set out their stall to make this the most feminist G7 ever seen.

Now is the time to be ambitious; so let’s make sure they reach for that extra mile and live up to expectations.

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