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Generating Gender Equality through GEAC's Recommendations
to the G7's Cornwall Summit
Julia Kulik, G7 Research Group
June 12, 2021
On June 11, 2021, the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) – an independent group of world-leading experts on gender equality – published recommendations to the G7 to drive global gender equality. The recommendations were presented virtually by Sarah Sands, GEAC chair, to the G7 leaders during their first Cornwall Summit session on "Building Back Better from COVID-19."
Aligned with the broader summit priorities, the GEAC recommendations were made in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, in recognition of its disproportionate impact on women and girls. GEAC's call to action is also aligned with the G7's core principles of open society, freedom and human rights, with a specific focus on education, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women and girls. The GEAC called on G7 leaders to use three types of mechanisms in their commitments: 1. measurement and accountability, with gender-differentiated data and established baselines; 2. Inclusion, through representation of all genders and other intersecting identities at all levels of authority; and 3. legislation.
The GEAC made 14 recommendations to the G7, with specific sub-recommendations on each, including (but not limited to):
Three distinct recommendations stand out here, in addition to those recommendations that have been made before and those related to commitments made previously by the G7. First, to take a gender-responsive approach to climate finance and policies, including at COP 26. Thus far, the G7 has done little to address the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls, so this recommendation is critical. Second, developing an international convention to denounce sexual violence in conflict, building on the legacy of the UK's Lough Erne Summit in 2013, where progress has stalled. Third, establish a G7 GEAC body to monitor and evaluate progress made, which is badly needed not only to monitor G7 progress but also the uptake of GEAC recommendations by G7 members.
Whether the G7 will act on the recommendations laid out by the GEAC remains to be seen. One positive sign was the (virtual) face-to-face time given to the GEAC with the leaders on the summit's first day. However, the initial allotment of time for the gender equality session was shortened as the economy session ran longer than planned, which meant leaders had less time to fine-tune the details and reach consensus.
The G7's past record on increasing the number and scope of its gender equality commitments is good. In recent years, there has been a steady number of commitments on the GEAC's core focus of education, economic empowerment and ending violence against women. However, the G7's record on compliance with those commitments has been less impressive, with an average of 73%, slightly below the overall average of 76% across all subjects. Here, the GEAC's proposed monitoring mechanism can help.
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