YOUTH VOICES: WHAT IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION TO G7 LEADERS?
On June 20th in Berlin, in collaboration with our partner Microsoft, we welcomed 30 young leaders from around the world as part of our Youth Voices initiative at Women’s Forum Germany.
Together, they brainstormed recommendations to the G7 on 5 key priorities: gender & climate action, feminist foreign policy, future of work, breaking gender bias and access to health.
5 youth representatives took the stage at the Women’s Forum Germany to present their recommendations — discover them below!
CLIMATE & GENDER
“Conference rooms at COP26 where critical climate-related decisions were made, showed a clear picture. They were primarily occupied by men. But, should such decisions to cap global warming at 1.5C be formed by mostly one gender? Reports from Bloomberg revealed that companies with at least a third of their female directors had lower emission growth rates (0.6 compared to 3.5%) than companies with a less diverse board. Further, more diverse companies also score better on environmental disclosure. So shouldn’t we encourage more diversity in boards in the face of a climate crisis?
The Climate & Gender Youth Voices team thinks we should.
Collaboratively we came up with recommendations and action points to help companies align towards a gender-inclusive route in favour of the climate:
- Transparency and setting meaningful targets in environmental disclosure are vital for climate action. The same applies for disclosing gender-related metrics. While such metrics are already being implemented and enforced across many G7 countries, we recommend tying them to tangible goals: within 2 terms of board renewals or at the latest in 2030, we recommend that at least 40% of company board members identify as women across G7 countries.
- But further, proper sustainability management goes beyond a company’s border and thereby entails the responsibility to manage and control the supply chain. The same reasoning is behind our call to economic actors to extend their gender-inclusive route beyond their own boundaries. We recommend companies to require new suppliers they contract with to have at least 40% of board members who identify as women by 2025. By 2040 all suppliers should meet the 40% target.
Understanding how climate issues and gender are intertwined, we firmly believe that these actions will not only strengthen but also accelerate actions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation to meet the ambitious net-zero goal by 2050. Gender justice is climate justice.”
Delivered by Ann Ziegler
“It is 2022 and not even a single country around the world has achieved gender equality completely. This striking reality is even reflected in the representation of the G7 – not a single G7 country (this year) is represented by a female head of state. This is indicative of where we really are with gender equality progress. Despite decades of progress in this sector, the reality is that for the most part, women’s rights, their needs, and women themselves continue to be underrepresented. This is the basis of our Call to Action to G7 leaders.
We urge G7 leaders to adopt feminist foreign and trade policies for the protection and promotion of women’s rights and representation, not only in G7 countries but also throughout the world. We are asking for support 1)support through financial mechanisms, 2)support through structural changes that protect the right of women, and 3)support through critical sectoral that empower women
Our recommendations are:
- All G7 countries should adopt and implement feminist foreign policies and as part of this ensure that at least 85% (from the current 56%) of the entirety of their Official Development Assistance (ODA), in terms of volume, addresses gender as a significant or main objective by 2025, of which at least 20% (currently less than 5%) are dedicated to projects with gender equality as their main objective. G7 countries must commit themselves from this moment to ensure that 100% of their ODA is screened according to the OECD Gender Equality Policy Marker so that we can track and measure progress towards gender equality with accountability and transparency
- We urge G7 leaders to facilitate structural change in trade and supply chain processes for the protection of women’s rights. We call up on G7 leaders to recognize the alarming fact that 1 in every 130 women are victims of modern slavery and with 190 million women working in supply chains worldwide, it is inevitable that a significant portion of them will be vulnerable to structural disadvantages and abuse, including falling prey to modern slavery. We urge G7 leaders to 1) critically and transparently examine their own supply chain processes and adopt and implement a gender-sensitive and human rights-just supply chain and trade processes within G7. We also ask they advocate for similar treaties to be implemented worldwide.
- Lastly, we urge G7 leaders to support sectors critical to women’s empowerment such as education and health by increasing the financing and policy support provided to these sectors. We ask that G7 leaders commit at least 15% of their Official Development Assistance budgets to education and securing the education of women and girls. Under health, we ask that financing for health sectors critical to women such as reproductive health and family planning are significantly increased (from the current less than 0.1 of the Official Development Assistance budgets of G7 countries). We urge G7 leaders to understand the urgency of the situation and to make a public commitment to achieve these objectives by 2025, so that we can continue to make the much-needed progress in this sector in an accountable, transparent, and consistent manner.”
Delivered by Sheba George
THE FUTURE OF WORK
“How many of you here ever heard about Hedy Lamarr? How many of you in the audience? Well, I am not surprised that there are very few raised hands. Hedy Lamarr is the woman behind the advances in communication technology in the 1940s that led to very well-known technologies: wifi, GPS, Bluetooth.
I learnt about the scientific contributions of Mrs Lamarr only few days ago and I thought “how come I didn’t know this before?”. I am sure many of you are now wondering the same.
Women always strived to receive recognition and equal opportunities in scientific and technological fields. STEM careers are the jobs of the future. Data shows that 70% of future jobs will require STEM-related skills. But today only 28% of STEM students globally are women. This gender disparity is alarming and we, as the youth representatives, recommend the G7 leaders to tackle the issue through the following 3 points:
- Education: Leveraging on the already mentioned Women’s forum call to actions, we call the G7 leaders to restructure and expand current primary curriculum with STEM qualifications, and to upskill and re-skill women in the workforce through government funding support programs.
- Financial support: We call the G7 leaders to allocate national public investment funds towards
women owned businesses and towards STEM businesses which already enforce
diversity in their workforce.
- Visibility: We urge the G7 leaders to implement national campaigns promoting a platform
for visibility and networking for women in STEM”
Delivered by Eleonora Ricco
BREAKING GENDER BIASES
“Zero hours. Zero hours is the average paternity leave within 4 out of 7 countries while maternity leave accounts for 10.8 weeks. This example illustrates the issue we aim G7 leaders to tackle.
Still today, women are usually seen as caregivers and associated with domestic work and the upbringing of children, maternal leave is implemented over paternal leave as the preferred option in both private and public sectors. Both domestic work and raising of children are seen as unpaid work. And thus form the core of long-lasting economic inequalities for women.
There are many implications arising from this gender bias. For instance, the imbalance of parental leave policies lead to further unequal access to job opportunities, increase in gender pay gap and ultimately a lack of role models for women.
Our recommendations for G7 leaders are the following:
- We call to collect and monitor data about maternal, paternal and overall parental leaves within both the private and public sectors (including but not limited to the proportion of employees taking leaves, the duration of the leave, the return to work rate after the end of the parental leave, disaggregated by gender)
- We call to create a sustainable framework of parental leaves/ adapted to both the public and the private sector.
- And lastly we call to create an entitled income-related parental leave to provide financial insurance to parents / and incentivize them to take the leave offer. I want a world where that sacrifice between having a family and ascending in one’s career never has to be made and I want that for every person this room.
As representatives of the Youth, we demand all G7 countries to take action. If not addressed now, women underrepresentation and the lack of diversity in the future laborforce will not only hinder businesses but they will hinder society as a whole. “
Delivered by Marie-Alex M.
ACCESS TO HEALTH
“From how clinical trials are orchestrated to how heart attacks are diagnosed, the healthcare system has been designed in the image of men. Women represent over 70% of the healthcare workforce, yet occupy only 25% of leadership roles (WHO, 2022c). We believe that reframing healthcare systems means empowering more women leaders, so that womens’ perspective on health can be accurately represented.
A 2018 UK public health study found that 1 in 3 women suffer from gynecological or reproductive health issues (PHE, 2018). Yet only 12% of global health spending is allocated to sexual and reproductive health (WHO, 2022a). Another study by the OECD found that only 60% of women between 50 and 69 years of age have access to mammograms in G7 countries (OECD, 2021c).
- We call for top-down measures that alleviate barriers for women ascending to leadership roles in healthcare.
- We call for scholarships to relieve the economic burden so disproportionality felt by women pursuing careers in health.
- We call for zero pay-gap policies in healthcare institutions.
- And we call for policies that defend and protect fertility autonomy. Access to contraception and to abortions is indisputable in the path towards equal opportunity.
- From the bottom-up, we call for more educational initiatives that inspire women to study STEM.
- We call for increased mentorship programs to guide women professionals in the healthcare system.
Representation generated by investing in women, by equal pay, by fertility autonomy, and by education and mentorship. With these initiatives we can change the healthcare system. A system that acknowledges and reflects women’s perspectives. A system that deploys research capital equitably. A system with leaders as diverse as its patients.”
Delivered by Michael Katzovitz