In April 2018, over 60 feminists from G7 countries and other nations around the world came together as Women7 (W7) in Canada’s capital Ottawa to develop recommendations to the G7 that address discrimination and inequalities on the basis of gender and other intersecting factors. Climate change, peace and security, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, child care, and foreign policy were central topics of the 2018 W7 summit.
Under the motto “All issues are feminist issues,” the W7 called on the heads of state and government of the G7 countries to finally invest in gender equality and women’s rights. Furthermore, W7 representatives encouraged leaders to engage with women from marginalized communities and underlined that feminist approaches must be included in all policies and investments. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the W7 Summit in Ottawa to discuss W7 demands.
Thanks to the successful Canadian W7 Summit, feminist perspectives received more attention than ever at the G7 Summit in September 2018. For example, the announcement of new funding ($2.9 billion) for the education of women and girls in crisis and conflict situations set an important benchmark for concrete financial commitments. Furthermore, the G7 countries pledged to support women entrepreneurs, strengthen gender equality in humanitarian assistance, combat gender-based violence and harassment in digital spaces, and initiate new partnerships in the area of “women, peace and security.”
There were critical voices, however. Some critics pointed out the lack of concrete results to ensure commitments turn into action. Others felt that key issues such as reproductive justice did not receive sufficient attention in the G7 leaders’ 2018 declaration. Nevertheless, many agreed that the explicitly feminist theme of the 2018 G7 process and the establishment of the Gender Equality Advisory Council were important steps towards a more gender-just G7 culture.