Gender 7 tells world leaders to prioritize gender equality

VANCOUVER — Today, the Gender 7, seven women leading the fight for gender equality around the world, gathered to challenge world leaders to put women and girls at the top of the agenda. At an event surrounding the Women Deliver Conference, the Gender 7 and special guests unveiled the breaking news headlines we can see if world leaders choose to make gender equality a priority.

“Gender equality is the issue we have to put at the center of our work,” said Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “If you don’t put women at the center, you are not going to get the results you want. It’s our job as advocates to keep taking this message forward. That is exactly what I’m planning to do when I head to the G7 Finance Ministers’ meeting next month.”

“Women and girls around the world deserve better. It’s as simple as that. It’s in our power to create a world where every girl and every woman has the same opportunity as every boy and every man,” said Gayle Smith, President and CEO of The ONE Campaign. “But getting there will require world leaders, the private sector and civil society to come together and take concrete and actionable steps that help move us towards a fairer, more equitable world. This year, let’s make the G7 stand for Gender.”

“Nowhere on earth do girls and women have the same opportunities as boys and men. Nowhere.” said Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa, founder of the Young Beninese Leaders Association. “We have the resources to ensure women and girls can access the health, education and societal opportunities they need to thrive. What we need now is for our politicians to do their part so that every woman and girl, regardless of where they live, can access them.”

The event featured women leading the fight for gender equality across all sectors around the world.

The Gender 7:

  • Angela Marie MacDougall – Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services
  • Angélique Kidjo – Musician, actress and activist
  • Fridah Githuku – Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya
  • Gayle Smith – President and CEO of The ONE Campaign
  • Dr. Joannie Marlene Bewa – Founder, Young Beninese Leaders Association
  • Mamarumo Marokane – Actor, MTV Shuga
  • Marlène Schiappa – French Secretary of State for Equality between women and men

And special guests:

  • Katja Iversen – President and CEO of Women Deliver
  • Melinda Gates – Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Michelle Beadle – ESPN host and activist
  • Michelle Grogg – Cargill’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development
  • Patricia Arquette –  Academy award-winning actor and gender activist


At the event, the Gender 7 presented headlines the world could see if world leaders choose to make gender equality a priority at this year’s G7. The headlines focused on seven key areas where the gender gap is most pronounced: health care, education, political empowerment, violence against women, economic empowerment, digital inclusion, and land and agricultural rights. Learn more about the gender gap here. Read The Times We Want and all of the headlines here.

For more information, or to speak with an activist about the Gender 7, please contact Sarah Swinehart, [email protected]

The ONE Campaign is a non-partisan policy and advocacy organization of millions of people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.