Actions always speak louder than words? Sometimes. Though it can often depend who the messenger is. Take the fine words of the Gender Equality Action Committee – an independent group of experts assembled by the UK Government to champion freedom, opportunity, individual humanity and dignity for women and girls around the world.
Their big moment was the G7 summit earlier this month – but the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson fluffed the moment and the GEAC’s really vital road map to gender equality post lockdown was lost.
Their words, though, are worth repeating. And liking. And sharing. And reposting.
Here is what the GEAC wants to see:
An acknowledgement of the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on women and girls, globally, and increased funding for, and dedicated action towards gender-transformative development programming, sexual and reproductive health services, and addressing the ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
A pandemic response and recovery that takes account of the needs of women and girls, and tracks the effect of recovery initiatives on men and women, taking into account factors such as age, income, disability and ethnicity.
At least 12 years of gender-transformative education for all, building on G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ commitments on girls’ education and, domestically, supporting schools to implement gender-responsive policies to benefit girls’ physical and mental wellbeing.
Strengthened domestic and international social care infrastructure, and access to affordable quality care, including childcare, through increased public investment to address gender imbalances in care work, both paid and unpaid.
Equal access to capital and labour markets, through removing barriers and creating opportunities for jobs and funding for women to thrive in the modern economy, and tailoring policies to support women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Recognition of the impact that global trade has on women as traders, workers and consumers, with G7 Leaders building trading relationships that benefit women and girls around the world.
A gender-responsive approach to climate financing, investment and policies, including at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), and for G7 Leaders to target investment in girls’ education, re-skilling of women, and lifelong learning to ensure that women and girls can benefit from the ‘green revolution’.
Acknowledgement of the risk to global prosperity and women’s economic empowerment caused by a gender imbalance in STEM education and careers, and commitment to prioritising progress towards gender parity through concrete action.
Action to address the digital gender divide by supporting initiatives that provide women and girls in all areas with affordable, reliable and safe internet and mobile services; and to counteract algorithm bias which puts women, girls and marginalised groups at a disadvantage.
An end to the stereotyping and unequal treatment of women in the media, including by endorsing the Generation Equality Forum Charter of Commitments for Cultural and Creative Industries.
Global action to end violence against women and girls through increased investment in prevention and response; the ratification of relevant conventions, including the Istanbul Convention; and enhanced support for eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM).
Action to tackle online harassment and abuse of women and girls, through the introduction of legislation that establishes a duty of care on technology companies to improve the safety of users online, including appropriate controls for online pornography sites.
Condemnation of sexual violence used as a weapon of war as an international red line, by developing an International Convention to denounce it, in line with other prohibited weapons in war such as landmines and chemical weapons.
Continued action to drive monitoring of progress on gender equality, and accountability on commitments, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, through the establishment of a G7 GEAC observatory mechanism to measure and report on G7 progress.
WeQual’s mission is gender equality in the executive committees and board rooms of the world’s biggest companies. While we deal specifically in the corporate world, our experience has taught us that the gender imbalance at the top of companies is systemic – the issues women in business face often mirror those they face outside work.
Which is why we think the words of the GEAC are worth reading and repeating. Over and over again.