G7 puts women’s rights at the heart of the 2021 summit

The G7 is to agree to a US $15 billion dollars investment this week to help women and girls in developing countries to respond to the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19. The G7 group – which comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – were invited by the UK, which holds the 2021 presidency of the G7.

“This year, as we build back better from the pandemic, the UK is putting girls’ and women’s rights at the heart of our G7 presidency, uniting countries that share our values so we shape a better path ahead,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement. 

The pandemic has had a disproportionate and profound impact on women and girls, including losing precious school time, reduced access to lifesaving sexual and reproductive health services, a spike in gender-based violence, and increased risk of job loss. The funding will help women access jobs and build resilient businesses over the next two years through the 2X Challenge, a partnership between G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) launched in 2018. 

According to the UK government, the programme leverages funding from DFIs and Multilateral Development Banks to provide finance to female owned and staffed businesses or products or services that particularly benefit women, supporting female economic empowerment.

Foreign ministers will also sign up to new global targets to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low and lower middle income countries by 2026. 

“Ensuring girls get 12 years of quality education and women can work and earn an income are some of the smartest investments we can make to change the world, transforming the fortunes not just of individuals, but whole communities and nations,” Raab said.

The G7 will also re-commit to collective action to defend and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, scale up gender-based violence prevention and elimination, and ensure women’s voices are included at local, national, and international decision-making in the COVID-19 recovery.

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