New York, NY, 10 June 2021 — As world leaders gather in Cornwall, UK for the Group of Seven (G7) Summit this weekend, COVID-19 will be at the forefront of the agenda. Women Deliver — a global advocate for gender equality and girls’ and women’s health and rights — urges the G7 and global leaders to focus on reversing the gender and social inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. We join fellow advocates from the W7, C7, and Y7, in calling on G7 leaders to act on seven asks:
- Build on gender equality commitments from past G7 Summits in Italy, Canada, and France; and ensure bold political statements are matched with appropriate funding, transparent implementation plans, and accountability mechanisms that include civil society.
- Integrate a gender lens across all G7 priority policy areas, and conduct consultative and inclusive decision-making processes with girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, from start to finish.
- Increase funding and strengthen policies to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), which have been significantly stalled or rolled back in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aid cuts must be reversed and G7 governments must step up their funding for SRHR programming and efforts to end gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health supply and service disruptions, and discriminatory policies that leave girls and women — especially marginalized girls and women — cut off from lifesaving services.
- Ensure equitable access to education as a foundation to girls’ and adolescents’ livelihoods and wellbeing, during the pandemic and beyond. Invest in multilateral funds to guarantee access to 12 years of gender transformative education, inclusive of comprehensive sexuality education.
- Prioritize public investments in the care economy through comprehensive whole-of-government approaches, with a focus on social protection policies, decent work, and increased public spending on social and physical infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the disproportionate burden care work — both paid and unpaid — places on girls and women in homes as well as in the health and social sectors.
- Recognize in policies and investments that girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, are leaders and agents of change in climate response and action, address the differentiated gendered impacts of climate change in related negotiations and financing, and engage local communities and marginalized groups in decision-making as an imperative.
- Direct targeted funding to youth-led and women-led organizations, which are at the frontlines of the intersecting pandemic, economic, humanitarian, social, and climate crises. Given a focus on increased sustainable development financing at the Summit, G7 leaders must consider these groups as key to address ongoing global development challenges.
We urge the G7 to maintain and strengthen political and financial investments in gender equality at upcoming policy moments including the Generation Equality Forum, the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, the G20, and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties.
It is clear that if we truly want to save lives and advance the health, wellbeing, and dignity for all, girls and women, in all their intersecting identities, must be front and center. Only when G7 and global leaders apply a gender lens to COVID-19 response and recovery — which includes realizing vaccine equity; safeguarding and strengthening the health workforce; and tackling systemic inequalities that compound ill-health — will we be able to build forward as a stronger world.