“Full gender equality has not been reached in any country around the world to date,” stressed Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs Lisa Paus, following the two-day meeting of the G7 Gender Equality Ministers. “Under Germany’s Presidency, the G7 have committed themselves to an ambitious gender equality policy agenda, in which gender mainstreaming forms the guiding principle across all political areas and goals,” explained Paus after the meeting in Berlin.
Germany assumed the G7 Presidency in 2022. In addition to the annual summit meeting of the G7 Heads of State and Government, the meetings of the specialist G7 ministers take on a key role. At the invitation of Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs Lisa Paus, the ministers in charge of equal opportunities met to discuss challenges and issues of gender equality policy.
Lisa Paus said that she was particularly pleased that the G7 had agreed to yearly monitoring concerning aspects of gender equality during the German Presidency. The heads of state and government had adopted this decision at the G7 Summit in Elmau. On this occasion, the G7 states committed to monitoring the progress of gender equality in the G7 and the European Union (EU) for the first time, and have created a dashboard dedicated to gender-specific differences (G7 Dashboard on Gender Gaps) for this purpose. The dashboard covers twelve key indicators from all areas of social and economic life that are relevant to realising equal opportunities. From now on, it will be updated annually by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), in order to identify progress and required action continuously and transparently.
“The dashboard will help us to learn from each other and to improve together,” Paus is convinced.
The Gender Equality Ministers adopted a joint declaration at their meeting, in which they undertake to continue advocating gender equality and LGBTIQ+ rights with all their strength. A number of other aspects are addressed, in addition to acknowledging the issue of gender equality as an overarching and guiding principle for all political goals:
- Structures of G7 gender equality policy: alongside setting up yearly monitoring, this aspect explicitly includes cooperation with the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and the dialogue process with civil society (Women7).
- Promotion of start-up businesses by women and female entrepreneurs: only nine percent of all working women are self-employed in the G7 countries on average. The obstacles that were identified included limited funding options, existing gender stereotypes and a lack of role models.
- Handling the effects that crises and conflicts have on equal opportunities for all genders (COVID-19, war, displacement, etc.).
An appeal to the Iranian government
The Gender Equality Ministers focused on the current situation in Iran in particular. They adopted a statement in which they express their solidarity with all those who are demonstrating in pursuit of their rights, especially with Iranian girls and women.
“We promise our solidarity to all human beings who are standing up for human rights and against oppression in Iran. We are calling upon the Iranian government to respect the human rights of their citizens and to put an end to oppression,” Paus explained.
She also spoke about other conflicts by which women are hit particularly hard, such as the war in Ukraine and the situation experienced by women and girls in Afghanistan. She added that it was vital to join forces to address such oppression, discrimination and injustice.
Plans to cooperate closely
Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs Lisa Paus emphasised in closing that the G7 Equal Opportunities Ministers had “taken another important step” today. “We are going to cooperate even more closely with each other and our civil society partners in future. We are going to set ourselves even more ambitious goals! And we will check that these are realised. After all, we must live up to our commitments to lead by example!” said Paus.
Gender equality is a key issue addressed during the German G7 Presidency. In this context, the Federal Government is collaborating closely with the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC); chairperson: Professor Allmendinger) and the W7 (Women7), the civil society dialogue processes on the issue of gender equality. The W7 handed over their demands to the G7 Presidency back in May. The G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council will issue its recommendations in autumn.