photo: G7 Gender Equality Ministers and W7 Representatives (2023-06-25, Nikko, Japan)
At the G7 Gender Equality Ministerial Meeting held on June 24-25, 2023 in Nikko City, Japan, W7 was invited as the official delegation and had several opportunities to make interventions at the same table with the Ministers.
W7 Co-Chair Fumie Saito (Japan), W7 Advisor Diana Sarosi (Canada) and Martina Rogato (Italy) participated on behalf of W7. Fumie spoke up W7 responses to the G7 Leaders’ Communique and posed questions to the Gender Ministers (Dialogue with the W7 and the GEAC), Diana commented after the Ministers’ speeches on “Leveraging the Lessons Learned from the Pandemic” (Session 1), and Martina spoke on the Women’s Economic Empowerment” (Session 2).
This was the first time that W7 was invited independently to the Ministerial Meeting. The W7 representatives actually had a chance to sit down with the Ministers and discuss about our requests. W7 made a clear request that the inclusion of W7 should continue in the future G7 Meetings.
Dialogue with the W7 and the GEAC
W7 Representative: Fumie Saito, W7 Japan Co-Chair, JOICFP
W7 Talking Points
We call for G7 Gender Equality Ministers to:
- Announce policy commitments with clear financial pledges to advance gender issues that were affirmed in the G7 Leaders’ Communique, such as resilient, inclusive and gender-transformative education, unpaid care work, treatment of care workers, and changing social norms.
- Address the care crisis issues through the public provision of a full range of care services, that include decent work for care workers.
- Demonstrate strong leadership to fight against the rollback of the bodily autonomy and rights of women’s, girls’ and LGBTQIA+ people, including transgender bashing, hate speech, discrimination, and criminalization of sexual and reproductive rights based on the agreed principle of the “Rule of Law” by G7.
- Promote the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, CEDAW, its Optional Protocol, and relevant ILO Conventions.
- Announce to support Pride7(P7) to be an official engagement group to the G7 Summit.
- Make a commitment to achieve Goal 5 as well as all the gender-related issues of all the other goals of 2030 Agenda as we stated in the C7-P7-T7-W7-Y7 Joint Statement on “Reigniting the 2030 Agenda: Achieving Gender Equality Now and For Future Generations”, and lead the global discussion on the 2023 SDGs Summit through gender-responsive approach.
- Improve the G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps by adding effective indicators to serve as a robust accountability mechanism: (i) ratio of improvement from the previous year of each indicator, (ii) government budget allocated for gender equality, and (iii) percentage of bilateral ODA with gender equality as their primary objectives.
- Last, but not least: continue supporting W7 as the platform to engage with the civil society, including (i) inviting W7 to Ministerial Meetings and (ii) ensuring country-level funds to the W7 secretariat.
Session 1: Leveraging the Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
W7 Representative: Diana Sarosi, W7 Advisor, Oxfam Canada
W7 Talking Points
- Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about a topic I have been advocating for many years: the care economy.
- Care lies at the heart of society. We all receive care at some point in our lives, but also give care. Our economies and societies couldn’t function without the provision of care. Yet, it took a pandemic for us to truly recognize the centrality of care to human existence, while also making it strikingly clear that our care systems are fragile and underfunded, and care workers are underpaid and overworked.
- In a world that is increasingly marked by crisis – whether from climate disasters, conflict or global health emergencies – it is only clear that more and more people will be in need of care in the future. The ILO predicted a looming care crisis in 2018, and the pandemic brought this prediction to life much faster than anticipated.
- The world is short millions of care workers. Hundreds of millions of people around the world can’t access or afford the care they need. Globally, ILO data suggests that women spend 16.4 billion hours a day doing unpaid care work, the number equivalent of USD11 trillion. Even before the pandemic hit, 42% of women of working age said they were unable to do paid work because of their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities – compared to just 6% of men.
- Care is at the heart of economic justice for women and we cannot speak about women’s economic empowerment without talking about care. Care responsibilities hold women and girls back everywhere from pursuing decent work and education and limit their opportunity to participate in social and political spaces.
- But we also cannot talk about care without taking an intersectional approach. Those lacking care and providing care are predominantly women from the most marginalized communities: racialized women, women from ethnic minority groups, and migrant women. Care in the Global North depends on global care chains. Migrant workers fill the ranks of domestic workers in all parts of the world. Following the fallout of the pandemic with thousands of nurses quitting health care, the Global North is incentivizing nurses from countries with already fragile health care systems. But instead of being rewarded with decent wages and working conditions, too many care workers are subject to exploitative working conditions.
- There are 3 factors contributing to the care crisis:
- The underlying problem is that care work is not valued. It continues to be considered an extension of women’s natural responsibility, and not skilled work, especially when it comes to domestic work, childcare and elder care. In many places, these are the lowest paid jobs. We need to change people’s attitudes around care, recognizing it as skilled work that should be rewarded with decent wages and working conditions. Governments should invest in campaigns to change social norms around care.
- The second challenge is that too many care services (i.e. child care and elder care) are left to the market, which make the services inaccessible and unaffordable and of poor quality. The provision of care should be the responsibility of states. Instead of promoting the privatization of care, states should invest an additional 2% of GDP in gender-transformative care systems that recognize care as a public good. Everyone who needs it should have access to care services and those who provide the care should have decent work.
- Lastly, austerity measures and the debt crisis make it impossible for low and middle income countries to invest in care systems. The G7 countries have a responsibility to support the expansion of fiscal space in those countries by canceling debt, supporting progressive tax regimes and combating illicit financial flows.
Session 2: Women’s Economic Empowerment
W7 Representative: Martina Rogato, W7 Advisor, Human Rights International Corner
W7 Talking Points
- Importance of measurement for empowering women: W7 requests are related to public access to gender disaggregated data, creating a G7 Gender Data Network, and the need of introducing a gender impact assessment before launching a new policy/ law/ initiative.
- Concerning impact mapping, it’s fundamental not to miss the opportunity of the human rights due diligence (directive draft in UE) for also mapping the impact of companies on women rights
- We empower women through quality jobs creation not only on STEAM but also on green jobs. Sustainability is a huge opportunity for women. We can’t miss considering that 60 million green and blue jobs will be created only in EU. STEAMcompetences are fundamental part of sustainability, so again, we should keep fighting against gender stereotypes that do not encourage women on scientific matters.
- Last but not least, cultural change is the “File Rouge” (point of connection) of all previous recommendations, and we need to work together on it.
Unfortunately, the Joint Communique did not include concrete policy proposals, except for the commitment to publishing the first Implementation Report by the end of the year, and funding.
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE G7 GENDER EQUALITY MINISTERS: NIKKO STATEMENT
W7 responses to the joint statement.