– Press Release – G7 – Development and Education Ministerial meetings: reaction of Women 7’s feminist NGOs

– Press Release – G7 – Development and Education Ministerial meetings: reaction of Women 7’s feminist NGOs

On 4 and 5 July, the Ministers of Education and Development of the G7 countries met in Paris. Women’s and girls’ rights were mainstreamed in the communiqués, but the Women 7 expected more concrete commitments, including to feminist official development assistance (ODA). France, which is among the G7 countries with the worst track records in terms of integrating gender equality into its development policy, has yet to prove its worth, particularly in terms of funding.

Development Ministerial meeting, 4 July 

The Development Ministerial meeting placed the Sahel region within these discussions and resulted in several communiqués from G7 countries on financing sustainable development, combating fragilities and finally a joint communiqué between the G7 and the G5 Sahel countries.

In general, the various commitments made by the G7 and G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Mauritania) do not include any quantified targets or deadlines. Without monitoring indicators, the Women 7 fears that these commitments are only promises. The Women 7 also expected this ministerial to make progress on two key issues: first, a better integration of women’s and girls’ rights within the Sahel Alliance, promoted by France through the G7. Secondly, the promotion of feminist official development assistance, significantly increasing funding for women’s and girls’ rights. On these two specific points, concrete commitments are still pending.

Joint Ministerial Education & Development, 5 July 

Women welcomed the priority given by the Joint Ministerial Meeting on Education and Development to gender equality in education and the importance given to technical and vocational education and training in sub-Saharan African countries, particularly in the Sahel, to better address inequalities. 

We also welcome the unprecedented format of this ministerial, from two points of view: the invitation of the ministers of the G5 Sahel and Senegal on the one hand and the presence of 6 youth delegates from these countries on the other. The latter shared the results of a consultation with 657 young leaders from West and Central Africa. This consultation focused on equal access for girls and boys to school, school as a place to promote gender equality and the quality of technical and vocational training as a lever for the socio-economic integration of young people. 

The W7 welcomes the creation of the “Gender at the Center” initiative endorsed by the G7 and the G5 Sahel Ministers of Education, in support of sectoral planning for a gender-responsive education. With a budget of around €5 million (yet to be confirmed), this initiative will make it possible to support particularly Sahelian countries that are interested, so that their sectoral education plans mainstream gender equality. Civil society, which supports this initiative on the ground, had not been sufficiently involved in the early stages of the initiative. If the intention is to have a concrete impact on unequal gender relations, it is imperative that local feminist organizations and associations be involved in the implementation phase. 

In addition, the Women 7 regrets the lack of consideration of comprehensive sexuality education. As a real tool for empowerment, emancipation, promotion of equality and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, comprehensive sexuality education must be at the heart of States’ development and education policies. 

Civil society organizations expect greater financial commitments from G7 leaders at the Biarritz summit on 24-26 August, starting with the allocation of 15% of ODA and 4% of humanitarian aid to the education sector, prioritizing a free, high-quality and gender transformative education.    

The W7 (Women 7) brings together feminist organizations from G7 countries and from around the world. Its main mission is to ensure that G7 countries make both financial and political commitments in 2019 and beyond that will have a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of women and girls around the world.