Biarritz Partnership for Gender Equality

Posted by Maria Codina on August 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

Recommendations of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for advancing gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women and Call to Action.

The presidency of the G7 in 2019 is held by France, which has chosen “fighting against inequality” as the key focus area of its presidency. In order to bring the fight against gender inequality into the framework, the President of the French Republic has decided to extend and renew the Gender
Equality Advisory Council established under the Canadian presidency of the G7. The 35 members of the Advisory Council1, with diverse expertise and origins, have provided input and contributions in their areas of expertise towards this document entitled Recommendations of the Gender
Equality Advisory Council for advancing gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women.

Last year, the inaugural G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council developed comprehensive and evidence-based recommendations to “Make Gender Inequality History”. These laid out a framework of policy recommendations for G7 Leaders to take actions to ensure that gender
equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment becomes the norm and not the exception.

Drawing on this previous work and on its members’ expertise, this year’s Gender Equality Advisory Council to the G7 Presidency presents a call for action, outlines a concrete set of legislative principles, illustrative laws and policies to advance gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment, and to provide recommendations for the Biarritz Partnership for Gender Equality.

Call to Action for Gender Equality

Girls and women are powerful agents of change but cannot realize their full potential due to the discrimination and violence they face worldwide. The Council expresses great concern about the persistent, and even growing, threats and backlash against girls’ and women’s rights in many countries, and condemns the serious responsibility of some political leaders in this step backwards.

At the same time, the action of brave girls and women has broken the silence and highlighted the urgent need for strong and determined action. G7 countries have a particular responsibility and the capacity to use the power of influence to advance girls’ and women’s rights in the interest of humankind. This is not a women’s issue; it is everyone’s issue. The Council urges G7 Leaders to
be as brave as girls and women are every day.

Legislation is a powerful instrument for change as long as it is comprehensive, implemented, funded and monitored with sanctions and incentives. Building on the work of the 2018 Gender Equality Advisory Council, the 2019 Council has worked on a legislative package. It calls on all countries, especially G7 members, to improve their legislative frameworks and assure the conditions for their implementation in order to make gender inequality history.

In addition, the Council urges States to ratify all relevant gender equality standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Istanbul Convention, the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, adopted in June 2019, and to withdraw all potential reservations to these instruments.

The Council also invites G7 Leaders to ensure that gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment be a standalone theme in all G7 deliberations and be integrated into all areas of discussion and deliberation. It calls on them to use their fiscal and political power to strengthen their international cooperation to further gender equality, and place it at the heart of the global and domestic agenda, including through donor approaches to humanitarian aid and international development.

The Council calls on G7 States to establish a feminist foreign policy, and make gender equality a priority of their foreign policy and official development assistance, as well as national contributions to multilateral organizations. The Council also calls on the G7 to increase financial resources dedicated to gender equality as well as to women’s groups and civil society organizations in
their domestic budgets and in their development assistance, and to live up to their promises to commit to spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance.

As the G7 has identified Africa as a strategic partner, the Council calls on the Leaders of the G7 countries to strongly support girls and women in Africa. The Council calls on the G7 to prioritize the inclusion and economic empowerment of women in development assistance by increasing support for girls’ and women’s health, learning, and inclusion in the financial system. This will take
more than words – it will take a commitment to work with all governments and citizens, to design laws, remove barriers and deliver programmes designed with girls’ and women’s access in mind.

The Council urges the Leaders to financially support women’s rights organizations, and conduct meaningful consultation with girls and women, including feminist and grassroots organizations. No legislative framework should be developed, implemented, and evaluated without meaningful consultation.

The Council calls on all countries, especially G7 members, to:

  1. Identify and abolish discriminatory laws, and / or amend clauses that are discriminatory, including in the G7 countries where they still exist.
  2. Enact and implement progressive legislative frameworks that advance gender equality. The Council invites G7 Leaders and non-G7 countries to commit to adopting and implementing at least one, but preferably several laws in their own countries, to strengthening existing laws, and to beginning this legislative process before the next G7 Presidency.
  3. Guarantee necessary financing to implement those legislative frameworks. Invest in strong accountability and governance mechanisms, including support for civil society.
  4. Measure and report on progress through timebound, agreed indicators.\

The Council also calls on the G7 to define an accountability framework with clear indicators that continuously track, and report annually, on G7 performance on gender equality actions and commitments, as well as achieving gender parity in G7 country, ministerial, and representative
delegations by 2025.

The Council recommends that Leaders adopt accountability frameworks for all G7 commitments on gender, at home and abroad, in order to measure, adjust, and assess public policies and their effects on girls and women. All measures taken during the G7 should be integrated into these accountability frameworks. Furthermore, G7 countries should report progress on and hold themselves accountable to their commitments to girls’ and women’s rights and gender equality, as articulated in UN and other multilateral forums. Regarding the commitments on law in the framework of the Biarritz Partnership, the Council recommends creating synergies with the monitoring of SDG Indicator 5.1.1, which monitors progress in this area through an independent expert review process.


Read more on the Biarritz Partnership for Gender Equality – Call for action

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