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G7 must make the economy work for women

The Group of Seven leaders must agree on concrete steps to combat women’s economic inequality and make the economy work for women, said Oxfam on the eve of the summit in Quebec, Canada.

Oxfam International Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, said: “Our global economy is generating extreme wealth on the backs of the poorest women—women who sew our clothes, grow our food and raise our children. This must end. I strongly urge the G7 leaders to support feminist policies proven to reduce gender and economic inequality. We’re used to leaders paying lip service to the idea of empowering women; we now need bold action by the G7.”

Oxfam calls on the G7 to tackle both gender and economic inequalities together by:

  • Progressively spending and raising revenue: Make rich individuals and huge corporations pay their fair share in tax, and use those resources to fully fund public services like public schools and healthcare. This has been shown to greatly help women and girls expand their job opportunities, reduce the gap between men and women, and creates more equal societies.
  • Recognizing, reducing, and redistributing unpaid domestic and care work: Investing in child and elder care are some of the policies that can help reduce the time spent providing care, especially in developing countries. This gives women the time and resources to pursue paid work and educational opportunities.
  • Introducing gender budgeting at all levels: Earlier this year, Canada passed its first budget focused on boosting women. The rest of the G7 countries have an opportunity to learn from this process and make gender analysis and data collection mandatory throughout their fiscal policy.
  • Making aid feminist: G7 countries should fulfil their long overdue commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on aid and develop, like Canada did this year, their own feminist aid policies. A key component includes support for women’s rights groups in developing countries, who are best placed to challenge toxic gender norms and drive progress on gender equality.
  • Ensuring equal representation in climate change negotiations: Poor women are disproportionately at risk by the effects of climate change, and many tell Oxfam that they’re excluded from discussions on where climate funds need to go. The G7 must push for them to be included in official negotiations and discussions on climate finance.

“Women’s work is fuelling economic growth, but far too much of it is being captured by a small, overwhelmingly male elite,” said Byanyima. “We’re proposing doable and effective strategies that can rebalance that injustice and give poor women a shot at a better life for themselves and their families. I challenge the G7 to show political leadership and be bold and ambitious in their efforts to empower women.”

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