UN Women Executive Director urges G7 leaders to commit to gender equality and join the Biarritz Partnership

Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2019

At the G7 Summit in France on 25 August, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, together with Nobel Prize Laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, presented the report of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council to G7 leaders in Biarritz.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (right) at G7 Biarritz Summit with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. Photo:  Nadia’s Initiative/Abid Shamdeen
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (right) at G7 Biarritz Summit with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. Photo: Nadia’s Initiative/Abid Shamdeen

The Council report urges leaders to commit to overturn the discriminatory laws that continue to hold women back, and to enact legal reforms that accelerate progress for girls, women and gender equality. It also calls for adequate funding to carry out these reforms, including through strong accountability and governance mechanisms, as well as supporting civil society to monitor the results.

More than 2.5 billion girls and women worldwide are affected by discriminatory laws and lack legal protection. The actions of many brave girls and women have broken the silence and highlighted the urgent need for strong and determined political action.

 “We not only ask you to be as brave as the women and girls, who live in countries where honour killing is allowed by law, where marital rape is allowed by law, where wage inequality is permitted, even when it is not allowed by law. We are actually asking you to be great, and we stand ready to support you. We call upon you to pronounce 2030 as the expiry date of gender inequality!” said the Executive Director to G7 leaders. Read full speech»

Drawing on the G7 Gender Advisory Council recommendations, world leaders launched the Biarritz Partnership at the G7 Summit. It includes commitments by both G7 members and invited countries, such as India, Senegal, Chile and Australia, to adopt new legislation supporting the advancement of gender equality.

G7 leaders also committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence in conflict, notably through the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mrs Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege.

G7 leaders also committed continued support to women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, including by supporting the removal of legal, social and regulatory barriers that discriminate against women’s full and free economic participation and empowerment. G7 leaders expressed support to the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative led by the African Development Bank.

The Executive Director, together with Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, discussed with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, about the G7 gender equality commitments of 2018 and 2019, and about the monitoring and accountability framework of the Biarritz Partnership—efforts aimed at stamping out gender inequality.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege in Biarritz, France. Photo: Adam Scotti
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege in Biarritz, France. Photo: Adam Scotti

At the G7 Summit, the Executive Director also exchanged with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, on the EU commitments to gender equality in the EU and globally, including EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end Violence Against Women and Girls, as well as EU’s support to the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France. Photo: European Union
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France. Photo: European Union

Prior to the Summit, the G7 Recommendations for advancing Gender Equality and the empowerment of girls and women and Call to Action had been presented to French President Emmanuel Macron on 23 August at the Elysée Palace.

The recommendations focus on four key areas: gender-based violence; access to inclusive, equitable and quality health and education; women’s economic empowerment; and ending discrimination in policy and public life and ensuring women’s participation.

The G7 Gender Advisory Council meets with President of France Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Photo: UN Women/Laurence Gillois
The G7 Gender Advisory Council meets with President of France Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Photo: UN Women/Laurence Gillois

The Executive Director took the opportunity to discuss with President Macron about the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, in partnership with civil society. The Forum will kick-off in Mexico City, Mexico, from 7 – 8 May, 2020, and culminate in Paris, France, from 7 – 10 July, 2020. The Forum will mark the 25th anniversary of theBeijing Declaration and Platform for Action, considered the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls.

The G7 leaders welcomed the Generation Equality Forum as an important milestone for advancing gender equality across the world.