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Feminist Visions for G7 – Ottowa 2018

We are a group of 60+ feminists from Canada, G7 countries and around the world. We represent feminist organizations and activists working on a cross-section of issues to address discrimination and inequalities on the basis of gender and other intersecting factors. We are at the frontline of resistance and progress on issues ranging from climate change to gender-based violence, from child care to foreign policy.

We’ve come together to establish a feminist vision for the 2018 G7 and beyond. Two G7 leaders have publicly declared themselves feminists, identifying gender equality as a priority for their foreign and domestic policies. We take this opportunity to call on G7 leaders to adopt progressive approaches, incorporating feminist principles on all G7 issues and beyond.

The world desperately needs new solutions. Feminists are holding the line in the face of coordinated attempts to roll-back hard-won rights. Our ability to collectively organize is severely diminished. Progress on global challenges is too slow. Our health, wellbeing and lives depend on bold political action.

Decisions made by the G7 have global impact. Bringing a feminist lens to the G7 has the potential to dramatically shift how decisions are made – and who wins and loses. Feminists have largely been absent from G7-related decision-making spaces. If the G7 is to truly advance gender equality, then feminist leaders must be heard and feminist approaches must be adopted.

We call on G7 leader to adopt a feminist approach that seeks to uproot structural and systemic inequalities and transform systems of power, many of which are grounded in social constructions of gender and patriarchal attempts to control women’s bodies and choices. A meaningful feminist approach works to end discriminatory laws, policies and programmes by ensuring all people have agency, autonomy, choice, empowerment and space to engage at all levels of decision-making. To us, a feminist approach is one that:

…Centers the diversity of lived experiences and expertise, especially those most impacted by G7 decisions, policies and programmes. Consultation should involve hearing and acting on the inputs from women in all their diversity. Targets should be set for meaningful participation by women who represent the full range of feminist organizing, in particular Indigenous women, in policy processes. Greater transparency of decision-making and year-onyear reporting of actions taken (as well as results achieved) relating to women’s rights should become the norm at the G7. Affirming and amplifying women’s agency is key to this.

…Guarantees resources for feminist movements. Ambitious new investments in feminist organizing – both within G7 countries and globally – are required. New funding mechanisms and pathways are required to ensure money lands in the pockets of organizations who need it the most. Funders should move beyond competitive funding mechanisms, toward those that support collaboration and movement building. Resources should be accessible to diverse women-led and feminist organizations, flexible in nature and sustained over the long-term, supporting objectives defined by these organizations themselves. Reporting, as well as monitoring and evaluation requirements, should be streamlined to avoid onerous administrative burdens.

…Establishes a new economic model. Our economic model must work for women in G7 countries and the rest of the world. That will require a feminist approach to economics, moving away from policies that fuel conflict, inequality, poverty, climate change and land grabbing around the world towards the expansion of fair trade, tax justice and an equitable and just shared global economy. We therefore need a just and equitable transition from our current economic model based on exploitation and extractivism to an economy based not on unchecked and rampant growth, but on sustainability and social, economic and cultural rights for all, in both the formal and informal economy. Too many women are facing precarious, dangerous and exploitative work situations and all life is threatened by climate change. G7 leaders must work towards inclusive economic security. This requires investments in decent work and livelihoods; the redistribution of wealth; the provision of universal public services and social protection based on needs; the recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work; the expansion of food sovereignty and the ecologically-sustainable economy.

…Integrates intersectionality. An intersectional approach that recognizes the multiple and intersecting aspects of identity that play out in women’s lives and experiences, such as class or race, and that compound and exacerbate oppression and marginalization, must be applied. This approach challenges us to expand our understanding of gender beyond binaries (woman/man, femininity/masculinity). Adopting an intersectional lens to gender based analysis means centering women of all backgrounds including Indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, LBTQ, among others, in all decision-making. It means recognizing the diversity among women with different levels of privilege and vulnerabilities, all deserving of equal voice. We urge the G7 to ensure feminists are heard on political, economic, social, ecological and cultural issues – all issues are feminist issues. Affirming and amplifying women’s agency is key to this.

…Grounded in accountability. The G7 must be accountable to those most affected by their policies and actions. States must implement existing human rights obligations, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others. As well, the 2018 G7 should outline how it has responded to the recommendations of the W7 (and other social engagement groups). A key element of accountability is the regular collection, analysis and use of data disaggregated along intersectional gender lines. Greater transparency on the impacts of policy choices will greatly enhance accountability to feminist organizations and movements.

A complete set of recommendations – addressing intersectional feminism, women’s economic empowerment, peace and security, climate change, feminist movement building, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and violence against women – will follow in May.

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Published inW20 Declarations