The summit hits some of the right notes on gender equality, but ultimately falls short for women affected by conflict
On 19th-21st May 2023, G7 Leaders met in Hiroshima, Japan, for their 49th summit – aiming to address the interconnected crises the world is facing and identify solutions they can collectively drive forward.
The war in Ukraine and its ripple effects, including on the global economy, remained top priorities on the agenda, while nuclear disarmament and climate change gained similar traction as key areas for multilateral cooperation.
Women for Women International welcomes the reaffirmation of the G7’s leadership on gender equality and the articulation of their clear commitment to taking an intersectional approach to promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls.
The G7 Communiqué includes instances of positive language and, to an extent, goes some way in meeting the expectations set out by gender equality advocates – for example, by:
explicitly acknowledging the concerning global rollback on women’s rights;
referencing the need to tackle the structural barriers to gender equality, address harmful gender norms and practices and promote women’s full and meaningful participation in decision-making; and
making commitments to accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as advancing and strengthening the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
But we need world leaders to do more than ‘talk the talk’. It is disappointing that words have not been matched with more tangible political and financial commitments. The 2023 W7 Communique, which we proudly contributed to, called for G7 Leaders to “take immediate, robust and transformative actions” that place “gender equality and women’s rights...at its core”. In this regard, the G7 Summit outcomes are underwhelming and signal a step-change from previous years. At the very least, we hope that strong statements can pave the way for the corresponding action that is so urgently needed in order to build an equal, just and peaceful future.
In reaction to the communiqué and announcements made at the G7 Summit, Bukola Onyishi – Country Director of Women for Women International in Nigeria, said:
“The interlinked challenges addressed by the G7 Leaders’ Summit – whether that’s rising conflict, the climate crisis or food insecurity - disproportionately impact women and girls, and so require gender-transformative interventions. As someone who has witnessed first-hand the gendered impact of cuts to Official Development Assistance (ODA), I was pleased to see G7 leaders recommit to increasing the share of ODA to fund such interventions advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment over the coming years. I urge world leaders, particularly those who adopted the 0.7% ODA target, to scale up this support sooner rather than later if they are to scratch the surface on the ambitious commitments set out in their Communiqué.”
Nataliya Vyshnevetska, one of our partners in Ukraine at D.O.M.48.24, said:
“I welcome the focus on Russian’s invasion of Ukraine at the recent G7 Summit; including the strong words of condemnation, reaffirmation of unwavering global solidarity and commitments to provide support for Ukraine. But women – their experiences, voices and movements – were missing from the discussion in Japan. We know that sustainable and long-lasting peace is more than the absence of fighting – it requires women’s meaningful participation in the peacebuilding process, as well as longer-term investments in women affected by conflict to enable them to heal, restore their agency and rebuild their economic livelihoods. This is a central part of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the broader Women, Peace and Security Agenda, which all G7 members have affirmed their commitment to implementing.”