“Getting the money in the hands of feminist organizations is key” – Highlights from the 2022 W7 Summit

26. Juli 2022 |

What are key factors for a gender-responsive COVID recovery? How can gender-responsive responses to the climate crisis be developed that leave no one behind? Why is fighting gender-based violence a prerequisite for feminist foreign policy? From May 24-25, representatives of feminist civil society and political actors from around the world gathered for the W7 Summit to discuss answers to these questions. Over 590 people registered for the hybrid summit which took place in Berlin.

Following the opening remarks by W7 project coordinator and summit moderator Caroline Ausserer, the President of the National Council of German Women’s Organizations, Dr. Beate von Miquel, welcomed the audience with a clear message to G7 leaders: “It is time to deliver on concrete commitments!”. German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior citizens, Women and Youth, Lisa Paus, subsequently highlighted the essential role of women’s empowerment for the G7 agenda: “After all, after much progress in recent decades, the Corona pandemic has exposed serious gaps in just two years:  Women still carry most of the paid and unpaid care work. At the same time, they get paid less, work part-time, or work in jobs without further opportunities for promotion social security.”

The panel discussion “Building back fairer? Key factors of a gender-just COVID recovery with a transformative economy” put a particular spotlight on the gendered role of the care economy. Moderated by W7 project lead, Juliane Rosin, the panel discussions addressed the challenges of a gender-just economic recovery and what the G7 could and should do to overcome them. “We need to treat grassroots organizations as real partners – and for this we need a budget. There will be no change without a budget “, W7 Advisor Muzna Dureid emphasized during the discussion. Also, Delphine O, French Ambassador and Secretary General of the Generation Equality Forum argued that “Getting the money in the hands of women and feminist organizations is key.”

In the second panel discussion which was moderated by W7 policy advisor Vera Otterstein, the four panelists addressed challenges and best-practices regarding the development of gender-sensitive responses to the climate crisis. “The climate crisis is not gender-blind. Women’s rights groups have worked hard to get heard in climate decision-making fora. It has not been easy, but the pressure is starting to deliver: real money & real support” Harjeet Singh, Climate Action Network and C7 Co-Coordinator of the Climate & Justice Working Group, stated during the discussion. Dr. Janet Kabeberi Macharia, Senior Gender Advisor and Head of Gender and Safeguards Unit at the UN Environment Program argued that there were still not enough resources available compared with the promises that have been made: “Put your money where your mouth is” was her clear message to G7 leaders.

Caroline Ausserer and W7 Advisor Shan Sherwan Hussein closed the first summit day with a short interview. “I am honored to be surrounded by so much energy and passion for the women’s cause.” Hussein emphasized during the closing interview session. This energy was again taken up by W7 Advisor Diana Sarosi who opened the second summit day together with moderator Juliane Rosin. “Governments need to understand that women’s rights organizations are the ones making a difference” said Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy and Campaigns when asked about her expectations regarding the handover of the W7 recommendations to the G7 Presidency.

“Ending gender-based violence as a prerequisite for feminist foreign policy” was the title of the third panel discussion moderated by W7 Policy Advisor Madita Standke-Erdmann. “We have to be focused on Afghanistan and create spaces for dialogue”, Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Director of the Centre for Women, Peace, and Security, argued and highlighted the responsibility of political leaders to make sure that Afghan women are systematically included and supported in political negotiations. “A feminist foreign policy perspective on the current conflicts means asking: What are the systems of colonialism, extractivism, and capitalism that continue to fuel these conflicts?” said W7 Advisor Spogmay Ahmed, Senior Global Policy Advocate at the International Center for Research on Women, when discussing the implementation of a meaningful feminist foreign policy. Minister of State, Anna Lührmann, agreed and emphasized that “a foreign policy that is not #feminist risks overlooking the rights and needs of half of the population.”

Next up was the highlight of the two-day summit: The W7 Communiqué and Implementation Plan, thoroughly developed by the W7 advisors in a three-month consultation process, were officially handed over to the G7 President and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In his keynote, Scholz highlighted that: „50% of humanity must hold 50% of power. And the G7 in particular needs to live up to that standard.” How the G7 would practically make sure to live up to that standard was one of the key questions to the G7 president during the subsequent panel discussion with three W7 Advisor.

Following a short break, a sequence of inspiring inputs marked the end of the W7 summit. Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, President of the Social Science Research Center Berlin, presented her agenda on how to foster gender equality in her role as president of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council under German Presidency. W20 Indonesia Chairwomen Hardiani Uli Silalahi virtually joined for greeting remarks highlighting the importance for Women20 and Women7 to join forces for advocacy in the G7 and G20. “The core principle of the Global Goals – that no one must be left behind – should be placed in the center of the G7” said W7 Advisor Fumie Saito, Director of Global Advocacy at Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning, when presenting on the prospects for the Japanese Women7 presidency in 2023. Feminist Poet Lili Krause closed this section with a powerful note.

“The perspective from the Global South is simple: we have to make sure that governments have enough fiscal space and that they engage with civil society.” Said Reine Kouété, Founder of the ACT-DTOUR association, in her closing remarks during a wrap-up discussion with W7 Advisor Christine Heinze, Founder of Young BPW Germany, and Juliane Rosin. Re-watch the whole summit here and download the summit agenda here. The list of speakers are accessible here.