W7 2019 – France

The second W(omen)7 policy dialogue took place under French G7 presidency in 2019. In the previous year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had highlighted, “gender equality and women’s empowerment” as top priority and integrated the topic across all G7 discussions. In 2019, France aimed to follow this new tradition and announced the fight against inequalities as the theme of its presidency. Feminist civil society in France mobilised to demand for gender equality to take centre-stage in the consultation process. The W7 coalition involved more than 100 feminist associations and NGOs from G7 countries and beyond. The 2019 dialogue was co-led by CARE France and Equipop following the motto ‘#feministscount‘. This was also the name of the very successful W7 public campaign.

In May 2019, over 25 speakers and 400 participants from all over the world gathered at the UNESCO House in Paris to demand political representatives to take commitments for a „truly feminist G7“, in the presence of the G7 Gender Equality Ministers. The objective of this 3rd international summit of the Women 7 movement was to push the G7 states, to adopt measures that would go beyond declaration and constitute concrete progress towards gender equality. Before and after the summit, thematically adapted recommendations had been prepared for the G7 Environment Ministers, the G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers, G7 Health Ministers, G7 Finance Ministers and the G7 Labor Ministers.

Among others the W7 2019 recommendations focused on the following demands: The development and implementation of feminist foreign policies, particularly linking feminist diplomacy and official development assistance (ODA); Support for the empowerment of adolescent girls and women, particularly in the areas of health, education, and combating violence; Promotion of women’s economic participation, financial inclusion, and access to decent work for all; and the adoption of an accountability framework for all G7 engagements in the area of gender equality.

After the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Biarritz in August 2019, the W7 activists published a public statement saying that the G7’s final declaration had not met expectations sufficiently: “Multiple financial commitments were taken, but France failed to embody a feminist diplomacy within this G7 and several key gender equality issues did not make it into the G7 leaders’ agenda.”

Nevertheless, the 2019 Women7 consultation and advocacy process succeeded to put gender equality and feminist demands at the center of public debate. Another milestone of the young W7 “herstory”.

The International Center for Research on Women has published a report card to review G7 commitments under France’s leadership in 2019 to advance gender equality which in some cases have associated policy, funding or accountability commitments.

W7 2019 Communiqué

G7 2019 Communiqué

W7 2019 Comment to the Communiqué