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G7 Advisory Council sets out detailed vision for gender equality

  • Powerful report sets out the scale of the challenge of making progress on gender equality in the age of COVID-19 
  • Recommendations call on G7 Leaders to take concrete steps to build back better for  women and girls from the pandemic, and proposes robust monitoring and  accountability mechanism to hold G7 governments to account on gender equality  commitments and progress 
  • Specific focus on UK G7 Presidency priorities of education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), empowerment and ending violence  against women and girls 

An international expert panel on gender equality has today published its report after a series  of discussions on how to create opportunities for women and girls, with a focus on ‘what  works’. It expands on the recommendations that the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) made to G7 Leaders in June 2021 on action to drive forward gender equality. 

The report is available here.

The GEAC is an independent group of experts convened by Prime Minister Boris Johnson under the UK’s G7 Presidency. The GEAC champions the core principles of freedom, opportunity, individual humanity and dignity for women and girls around the world. 

Council Chair Sarah Sands and Nobel peace prize laureate Dr Denis Mukwege presented  the Council’s initial recommendations to G7 Leaders at the Summit in Cornwall in June, a  number of which were taken forward as commitments in the Carbis Bay Communiqué. This  included specific action on girls’ education, addressing the underrepresentation of women in STEM and strengthening the international response to conflict-related sexual violence. 

This report builds on the GEAC’s 14 recommendations with additional background, evidence  and examples, and a particular focus on ‘what works’ in order to provide governments and  organisations with a strong framework on which to build. It also includes draft proposals for  an accountability mechanism to monitor G7 commitments to achieve gender equality on an  annual basis, in response to an invitation from Leaders at the G7 Summit. 

The report highlights the real-world impacts of gender inequality, referring in particular to the  situation facing women and girls in Afghanistan, on which the Council published an open  letter in August. The report also sets out how GEAC recommendations apply in Cornwall, as  the location of this year’s Leaders’ Summit.  

In the context of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the work of the Council and its  recommendations were heavily focused on the disproportionate burden faced by women  over the last 18 months, and their role in the global economic recovery. The report calls on  the G7 to show leadership and demonstrate what can be achieved with effective  interventions in justice, education, science, health, the workplace, and our economies. 

Chair of the Gender Equality Advisory Council, Sarah Sands, said: 

Our independent-mindedness was matched by a fierce sense of purpose and urgency. We were meeting – virtually – not only in the middle of a pandemic but also with a colossal, economic iceberg ahead of us. Our first imperative was to ensure that women, and particularly women of colour, were not overlooked in the recovery, as they so often were during the  pandemic. 

Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, welcomed the  report in her capacity as Ministerial lead for the GEAC, saying: 

We need to ensure that women across the world have access to education and employment and are free to live their lives without fear of violence. 

The work of the Gender Equality Advisory Council will help focus minds on the task at hand,  providing a base to advance gender equality globally and encapsulating our forward thinking  G7 presidency. I look forward to working with Council members as we continue our mission  to build back better, not only in this country but across the world. 

GEAC member, Global Economist and Former Minister of Investment, Trade and  Industry in Botswana, Bogolo Kenewendo, said: 

The 2021 GEAC has developed a set of recommendations that have relevance in any  country's COVID-19 recovery policies; they are evidence based, practical and measurable.  

To that end, the report includes a proposal for a gender equality monitoring and accountability mechanism for the G7. It is important to maintain traction on the key issues of  educating girls, empowering women and ending violence against women and girls, and build  on progress through future G7 GEACs.

GEAC member, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, Alice P. Albright, said: 

One of the core issues raised by the GEAC is a call for 12 years of quality education for all.  The G7 has shown unprecedented political will around girls' education, and this is a powerful  first step. If the G7 want to meet their policy priorities - whether around trade, climate  change, diplomacy or peace - universal girls' education is the proven answer. But this means  urgently implementing existing targets and commitments, investing greater proportions of aid  into global education and making girls' education a permanent feature of all future G7 presidencies to secure sustainable change.

The report is available here.