W7 recommendations for the 2021 G7 on gender equality and women’s rights

Actions needed by G7 leaders in the long-term to tackle the structural barriers to gender equality

The 2021 W7 dialogue was co-chaired by the Gender and Development Network (GADN) and Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) who collaborated with Care International UK and ActionAid UK on the organisation of the W7 Summit.

Building on feminist principles of intersectionality and inclusion the W7 2021 aimed to open decision and policy-decision processes to grassroots feminist activists from around the world, ensuring that voices who are often excluded could equally engage in these spaces. Through the drafting of recommendations, sharing of good practices and testimonies, the W7 2021 dialogue made sure that the voices of feminists and women’s rights organizations took front and centre in the G7 process.

On 21–22 April 2021, a digital W7 Summit brought together feminist experts, activists and practitioners from G7 countries and all around the world to amplify the voices, perspectives and leadership of those not commonly included in the G7 forum. Over two days, participants collaborated on proposals for the G7 and agreed on concrete and meaningful actions in pursuit of gender justice.

Underpinning discussions were the W7’s core principles:

  • equality and justice
  • accountability and meaningful participation in democratic decision-making
  • equitable and green economies that centre wellbeing in post-pandemic recovery

These core principles mainstreamed along eight thematic areas:

  • Women’s economic justice
  • Climate
  • Women, Peace and Security
  • Violence against women and girls / gender-based violence
  • Health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Education
  • Democracy, accountability and meaningful political participation
  • Racial justice and decolonisation

Theo Sowa and Dr. Naila Kabeer joined the W7 Summit to deliver two  impressive keynotes. In her speech, Theo Sowa, former CEO of the African Womens Development Fund, stated: “It is is not what we fund but how we fund. Let’s stop and change this travesty where only a tiny percentage of development assistance and philanthropic resources find their way particularly to Southern-based Women’s Rights Organisations; and more generally, a tiny percentage find their way to women’s rights agendas. We need to increase the funding dramatically and we need to change the way in which we fund to make sure that we’re getting the resources to people who are living these experiences and who are making the change.”.

Dr. Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development at the Department of Gender Studies and Department of International Development at the London School of Economics, added: “There is a yearning across much of the world for us to build back better fairer, more inclusively and more resiliently. A concern with gender justice has to be central to this vision because it challenges the basic tenets of the old paradigm and holds the key to a new one.”

Keynote Theo Sowa 

Keynote Dr. Naila Kabeer

With the W7’s final Communique “Making gender equality a reality – Recommendations to the G7”, the W7 Summit culminated in a powerful set of feminist demands. This called on G7 leaders to mainstream gender equality across all G7 priorities, to ensure that tangible results emerged alongside discussion and were met with appropriate financial schemes to support gender equity through development aid and assistance.