It will take 108 years to achieve gender equality at the rate we’re going, and even longer in the world’s poorest countries. 26 of the 27 poorest countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty is on the rise. If we hope to deliver the most ambitious goals humankind has ever set – the SDGs – we urgently need concrete action. That means changing policies, putting money behind the fight, and holding governments and partners accountable for their commitments.
The G7 Summit in Biarritz this August will host leaders from the seven largest and most advanced economies, plus leaders from Africa and the rest of the world. When they meet, they must deliver immediate and long-lasting progress on the SDGs – especially on those related to gender equality.
Change the law
We’re calling on every country attending the G7 Summit to introduce two new laws or policies promoting gender equality by 2022. For example, our campaign – run in partnership with Senegalese artist Black Queen – demands the rapid adoption of a law criminalizing rape, which is still considered a “simple offense” in Senegal. On top of that, countries must get rid of sexist laws. It is unacceptable that laws holding back women still exist.
Finance the fight
At the Summit, G7 countries should commit to a financial package that’s focused on women and girls in the poorest African countries, with African countries prioritising women and girls in their budgets. Over the next three years, $1.5bn is needed to deliver real progress.
Serious money is needed to put the world on track to meet critical SDG targets focused on women and girls’ health, education, economic empowerment, and well-being.
Some of that should come through targeted aid spending: 85% of international aid should contribute to gender equality, of which 20% for projects targeted specifically at women and girls. Some should also come from domestic budgets targeted towards initiatives that will have an immediate impact on women’s lives.
Within that, more funding is needed for girls’ education. We need to double education focused aid to the Sahel by 2022, and the rest of Africa by 2025. African governments should commit 20% of their budgets to education by 2022 and ensuring their national policies take into account the specific needs of girls.
In order to get women banking online, governments should fund the Gates’ Foundation’s proposal on women’s access to digital financial services in Africa, which will give 240 million women in Africa access to digital financial services.
Funding must be made available quickly to support local women’s rights organisations standing at the frontlines of advancing gender equality in Africa, and to support initiatives against sexual violence, such as the foundation of Nobel Prize Mukwege. Governments should also increase funding for women entrepreneurs, for example through the support of the AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) initiative led by the African Development Bank.
Track commitments to completion
If governments commit to all of the above, we stand a real chance of achieving gender equality – and in this century! But words won’t be enough – we need progress, not promises!
Leaders must agree to the creation of a Global Alliance for Gender Equality (GAGE), an independent body that will hold governments and the private sector to account for their commitments, starting with those made at the G7 Summit.