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Joint Statement of the G7 Gender Equality Ministers

Berlin, October 14, 2022

We, the G7 Gender Equality Ministers met in Berlin today to make progress towards a gender-equal world.

We must reiterate that as of 2022, no country in the world has managed to achieve full gender equality. Globally, women and girls in all their diversity as well as LGBTIQ+ persons continue to be at a disadvantage in many areas of economic, social and cultural life, such as education, political leadership, and the labour market. They are also much more likely to become victims of sexual and gender-based violence. In light of these conditions, achieving gender equality is urgent and imperative and remains our political priority.

Under the German Presidency, the G7 has committed to an ambitious gender transformative agenda, with gender equality being a cross-cutting and guiding principle for all policy objectives. We reaffirm the Leaders' Commitment to ensure full, equal, effective and meaningful participation of women and girls in all their diversity as well as LGBTIQ+ persons in politics, economics, education and all other spheres of society, independent of their gender identity or expression or sexual orientation and to strengthen their rights, resources and opportunities in the spirit of feminist development, foreign and trade policies. We also remain committed to the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and are deeply concerned about the current underachievement on SDG 5.

Led by the principle of gender mainstreaming, realizing shared progress on G7 gender equality policy needs continuous, coordinated and targeted efforts across all G7 countries. In order to reach its goals, the G7 set up strong and fit-for-purpose gender equality accountability mechanisms that ensure the G7 is provided with robust and specifically more disaggregated data and evidence to guide policy action, institutional scientific advice and civil society partnership, and a follow up process on the implementation of the G7 gender equality recommendations and commitments. In this sense, we recognize the integration of gender equality across the work streams of the G7, and support those specific gender-responsive recommendations and commitments made by other G7 Ministers in their ministerial communiqués.

Establishing the G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps

The establishment of the G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps and its annual update is an important monitoring and accountability step in this context.

The G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps covers key indicators across a range of policy areas that are relevant to the advancement of gender equality. We look forward to building on the evidence from the G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps to inform future G7 commitments, including policy measures in our respective countries, to further advance gender equality globally. The adoption of the monitoring mechanism is a strong political signal that the G7 upholds shared values and wants to achieve gender equality concretely and effectively.

Working with the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) and Women7 (W7)

The G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps adds to two successfully established G7 institutions that have enriched the gender equality dimension within the G7 for the last years: the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) and the Women7 (W7). These demonstrate the G7 commitment to defending gender equality as a basic and essential value of democratic societies. Since 2018, the high-level GEAC has developed recommendations on gender equality issues across the entire G7 agenda. All recommendations offer a wealth of experience and measures to promote gender equality around the globe. We welcome this year's selection of topics such as "Funding; Investments, Ownership; Caring Economy; Feminist Diplomacy; Gender-based Violence; Crisis, the role of Gender and Gendered Impacts; Intersectional Consciousness", and the insightful work on these issues. The GEAC aims to support leaders and ministers in ensuring that gender equality and gender-based analysis are integrated across all themes, activities and outcomes of the G7 presidency. We will continue to integrate this analysis in our activities as we did for example with the establishment of the Dashboard. W7 is a global civil society voice, which is an indispensable prerequisite of pluralistic democratic societies, as well as a partner and crucial companion of G7. We welcome the W7 recommendations and concrete proposals on principles for a sustainable and gender-just transformation. We are committed to keeping gender equality high on the agenda, and working alongside our civil society partners such as W7.

Advancing Women's Entrepreneurship

To take advantage of positive achievements across the G7, we must learn from past experience and move forward. At the G7 Gender Equality Ministers Meeting, we discussed political and other measures to empower self-employed women and women entrepreneurs.[1] There remain substantial untapped opportunities for self-employment and entrepreneurship in populations such as women, youth, the unemployed, and immigrants. Obstacles to more women becoming self-employed include a lack of women role models, sometimes limited visibility of existing women entrepreneurs, a lack of access both to finance and to trainings, limited ability to reconcile family life and self-employment, including through reducing and redistributing unpaid care work responsibilities, and patriarchal power dynamics. Furthermore, institutional forms of gender stereotypes and discriminatory social norms that keep women out of the world of work and entrepreneurship in a mostly male-dominated world of finance can pose barriers to women entrepreneurs who seek financing to support their business's growth and development. To overcome these obstacles quality education, including financial education, and STEMs skills are crucial: We reaffirm the G7 Principles on Women's Entrepreneurship to empower women and girls to take on and succeed at entrepreneurial leadership.

All of these disadvantages limit women's empowerment and their equal access to opportunities and it also impacts economic and social growth for all, as women entrepreneurs tend to direct their business towards social, ecological or economic sustainability more often than men entrepreneurs.[2] Thus, women's entrepreneurship can be considered an important building block to contribute significantly and equally to innovative solutions to the most urgent challenges of our times, such as sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation and healthy lives. We therefore acknowledge women's contributions as entrepreneurs and innovators for a socially and ecologically sustainable transformation of the economy, and will follow the call of the W7 Communiqué to "provide tailored support for women entrepreneurs, and ensure their equal access to finance markets, procurement opportunities."

Addressing the Impacts of Crises and Conflicts on Gender Equality

During the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and, in some cases, reversed hard-earned progress, we must learn from the initiatives developed during that time of crisis and continue our support to expand on these efforts. Around the world, women and girls in all their diversity have been disproportionately affected by layoffs, restricted access to health services and education, faced setbacks in their realisation of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, and have suffered a worrying rise in various forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including online harassment and abuse and technology-facilitated gender-based violence. The social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult for those who are at risk of gender-based violence to safely reach out for help. In response, community organizations mobilized to develop initiatives such as the Signal for Help, initially developed in Canada, a single-handed gesture that can be used by an individual to alert others that they feel threatened and need help. The Signal for Help was widely reproduced in multiple countries, adding to the multisectoral toolkit and approaches needed to address one of the most pervasive, deadly and deeply rooted human rights violations of our time. Concerning the labour market, research from the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that globally the recovery is not closing the gender gap in hours worked in paid employment, which widened further during the crisis, and that informal women workers have been hit harder by a loss of employment than their male counterparts. OECD data shows that female entrepreneurs are more likely to work in hard-hit sectors (e.g. personal services, tourism, retail, arts and entertainment). Beyond the pandemic, the impending climate crisis, in tandem with biodiversity loss, presents further obstacles to women and girls who are more gravely at risk of suffering from the negative effects of climate change and natural disasters than their male counterparts. We are committed to take the gender aspect of all sorts of crisis into account and involve women and girls in all their diversity in the decision making to counter the negative effects and recover.

Conflicts, situations of instability, migration and displacement are far from being gender neutral: women and children, especially girls, as well as people who are marginalised based on their disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, are disproportionately affected by human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts and situations of irregular migration and displacement. Those violations often exacerbate pre-existing patterns of discrimination, including cumulative discrimination based on multiple grounds. This exposes women girls, and those most vulnerable to heightened risks of violence, including conflict-related sexual violence; precarious employment human trafficking; detention; violations of fundamental labor rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining; deprivation of access to education, including vocational education and comprehensive sexuality education; and essential health services, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, especially in displacement situations. We acknowledge the specific needs, challenges, and potential of women in all their diversity as agents of change in crisis, conflict and displacement. In close alignment with the Women Peace and Security agenda, we commit to intensifying our efforts to integrate gender perspectives and secure women's full, equal, effective, and meaningful participation in social, economic and political decision-making and resource allocation as well as conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes.

We, the G7 Gender Equality Ministers, condemn Russia's illegal, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine and reaffirm our full support for the government and people of Ukraine in their fight for a sovereign, peaceful, prosperous, equal, and democratic future. We stand together with Ukraine and call on Russia to comply with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and to respect the human rights of women and girls, as well as LGBTIQ+ persons. We are deeply worried about the continuing deterioration of all aspects of the situation for women, girls, as well as LGBTIQ+ persons who are facing increased risks in defending their country but also fleeing from war and trying to save their families from the ongoing aggression of the Russian armed forces. We condemn in the strongest terms the ongoing attacks, killing, and wounding of civilians and non-combatants, the conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, as well as the pervasive targeting of critical infrastructure, and the extensive harm to healthcare person- nel and facilities in Ukraine. We call for accountability for these abuses, alongside a gender- responsive recovery planning in Ukraine in close cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. Strategies, programmes and projects need to be designed to meet the needs of all people – ensuring their full involvement, participation at all levels, representation, and the equal distribution of resources and benefits.

Together, we counter the rising tide of authoritarianism and a backlash against women's, girls', and LGBTIQ+ persons' exercise of their rights across the globe, through effective international cooperation and policy instruments such as national action plans or strategies, and strengthening ongoing dialogues, as we strive for free, resilient, inclusive, gender-equal, democratic societies based on a functional and inspirational gender equality machinery.

We have to do more. We have to be faster. We will stand together.

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[1] Indicator 7 of the G7 Dashboard considers the female and male share of self-employed persons with or without employees.

[2] e.g.: Hechavarría, D.M., Brieger, S.A. Practice rather than preach: cultural practices and female social entrepreneurship. Small Bus Econ 58, 11311151 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-020-00437-6 (19.09.2022).

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Source: Official website of Germany's 2022 G7 Presidency

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