Plan International welcomes the declaration released by G7 leaders on gender equality following their meeting last weekend in France.
President Macron focused this year’s G7 on inequalities and built upon the work of the Gender Equality Advisory Council set up under the previous Canadian presidency of the G7.
Despite a lack of major financial commitments, Plan International strongly welcomes the efforts taken to prioritise gender equality and girls’ education. We urge all future G7 presidencies to prioritise the rights of girls and women as a major driver for transformative change.
Shortly before the G7 Summit, the Gender Equality Advisory Council issued a call to action* with 10 recommendations, urging leaders to be brave in the fight to end gender inequality.
The G7 leader’s final declaration on gender equality* recognises the discriminatory laws that affect women and girls around the world and outlines the need to adopt, implement and monitor laws that advance gender equality. It also adopts a vital focus on preventing and responding to sexual violence, including during conflicts.
We hope this translates into increased funding and action for girls’ education.
In line with this, Plan International’s Girls Get Equal campaign supports girls and young women to call for an end to the stereotypes and practices that prevent them from taking full control of their lives and the world around them.
The French government has launched a women’s entrepreneurship fund with the African Development Bank and a fund of €120 million to improve the status of women around the world. France has also committed €6.3 million towards Nadia Murad’s and Denis Mukwege’s fund for survivors of sexual violence.
Aside from this, no overall funding for gender equality has been agreed. We therefore urge governments to take forward all 10 of the Advisory Council’s recommendations through a comprehensive, fully-resourced approach to gender equality.
Gender at the centre
Plan International is pleased to note that the declaration endorses the adoption of the Gender at the Centre Initiative*. The initiative looks beyond gender parity in student numbers to a broader focus on how the education system can advance gender equality through safe learning environments, teacher education and practice, stronger curricula and leadership.
To fully realise the Gender at the Centre initiative, G7 members must deliver on the initial funding commitments made and ensure that civil society, young people and local feminist organisations lead its implementation.
Education in the Sahel
The G7 development and education ministerial meeting in July led to the first joint communique between G7 and G5 Sahel countries that acknowledged education as a ‘human right and key driver for sustainable development’ and outlined the need to tackle inequalities within the sector.
In a youth consultation facilitated by Plan International, 6 African youth delegates met with G7 and G5 Sahel and Senegal representatives to share their recommendations on education*. The recommendations and the value of youth engagement were acknowledged by G7 leaders.
The UK government has committed £90m to Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies. This will help 600,000 children get an education, with one third of this funding earmarked for children living through ‘forgotten crises’ such as those in the Sahel.
The G7 Leaders committed to increasing funding for basic education in the plan of action for partnership in the Sahel, with an emphasis on girls’ education and gender equality within political systems. However, no concrete financial commitments have been defined.
Plan International’s CEO, AB Albrectsen, who met with President Macron on Friday before the Summit, said: “We know how important it is to ensure all girls, especially the most vulnerable, get access to quality, inclusive education. We are pleased the G7 have acknowledged the transformative power of education and hope this translates into increased funding and action for girls’ education.”
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