G7 leaders highlight women’s empowerment as a top priority

Leaders commit to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation in their countries by 25 per cent by 2025 and call on companies to apply the UN 'Women’s Empowerment Principles'.

Date: 09 June 2015

The world’s leading industrialized nations cited women’s economic empowerment as a top global priority in a Joint leader's declaration presented on 8 June at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany. They also voiced their support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, practical guidance for businesses developed through a partnership between UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact.

“We have today agreed on concrete steps with regard to health, the empowerment of women and climate protection, to play our part in addressing the major global challenges and to respond to some of the most pressing issues in the world,” reads the statement, which includes a preamble on shaping the planet’s future in this milestone year for international cooperation and sustainable development issues…We also reaffirm our commitment to continue our work to promote gender equality as well as full participation and empowerment for all women and girls.”

The declaration highlights the importance of catapulting women’s entrepreneurship as a key driver of innovation, growth and jobs.

Underlining the vital role of the private sector in creating an environment in which women can more meaningfully participate in the economy, it states “We therefore support the UN ‘Women’s Empowerment Principles’ and call on companies worldwide to integrate them into their activities. We will coordinate our efforts through a new G7 working group on women.”

The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer practical guidance to business and the private sector on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles are designed to support companies in reviewing existing policies and practices—or establishing new ones—to realize women’s empowerment.

The declaration emphasizes the need to spur women’s economic empowerment, to reduce poverty and inequality and promote growth and benefits for all, with leaders committing “to increase the number of women and girls technically and vocationally educated and trained in developing countries through G7 measures by one-third (compared to “business as usual”) by 2030.”

 “We will support our partners in developing countries and within our own countries to overcome discrimination, sexual harassment, violence against women and girls and other cultural, social, economic and legal barriers to women’s economic participation. We recognize that being equipped with relevant skills for decent work, especially through technical and vocational education and training (TVET) via formal and non-formal learning, is key to the economic empowerment of women and girls, including those who face multiple sources of discrimination (e.g. women and girls with disabilities), and to improving their employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.” 

To increase career training and education for women and girls within G7 countries, leaders also commit to “continue to take steps to foster access to quality jobs for women and to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation within our own countries by 25 per cent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances including by improving the framework conditions to enable women and men to balance family life and employment, including access to parental leave and childcare.”

The Declaration welcomes the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women to be hosted by the Presidency on 16 and 17 September 2015, as well as the “World Assembly for Women: WAW!” to be hosted by Japan, which will hold the G7 Presidency in 2016.

To read the full Declaration, click here