The Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20) have been informal alliances of states since their founding in 1975 (G7) and 1999 (G20), respectively. They represent the world's leading industrialised and newly industrialised countries.
The G7 states include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Japan, the United States, with the European Union holding guest status. In addition to the G7 members and the European Union, the G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China (PRC), India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.
The agenda and proposals for G7 and G20 resolutions are mainly determined by the respective presidency, which rotates annually among the members states. All G7 and G20 resolutions, both those taken at the summits of the Heads of State and Government and those taken at G7 and G20 ministerial meetings held on specific topics, can only be adopted unanimously.
Gender equality policy at G7 level
Since Germany last held the G7 presidency in 2015 and the G20 presidency in 2017, both groups have increasingly prioritised matters relating to the equality of women and girls in their cooperation. The G7 and G20 activities within die Bundesregierung (the Federal Government) are coordinated by the Bundeskanzleramt (the Federal Chancellery).
On Germany's initiative, a G7 working group on gender equality and women's empowerment (GEWE AG) was formed in 2015. The G7 made matters regarding the economic empowerment of women, equal access to education and the prevention of and protection from gender-based violence a core priority.
G7 Gender Roadmap 2017
In 2017, the first G7 meeting of gender equality ministers took place during the Italian G7 Presidency. In addition to a final declaration by the gender equality ministers, the G7, at its summit in Taormina (Italy), adopted the "G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment", a comprehensive roadmap for action that includes more than 50 goals agreed in the area of gender equality.
G7 Meeting on Gender Equality in Paris
In May 2019 during the French G7 Presidency, the gender equality ministers met in Paris for the second time so far. This meeting was attended for the first time by representatives from six other states: Argentina, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, New Zealand, Norway and Tunisia. Caren Marks, Parlamentarische Staatssekretärin bei der Bundesministerin für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend a.D. (Former Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth), represented the Federal Government at the meeting.
New G7 partnership for gender equality
With the adoption of their final declaration, the gender equality ministers of the G7 laid the foundation for the Biarritz Partnership for Gender Equality adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August 2019. This new partnership commits the G7 members and further partner countries to new gender equality policies or legislative initiatives in at least one field of action.
The G7 in 2020 and beyond
In 2020, the United States holds the presidency of the G7. The United Kingdom will take over the G7 presidency in 2021; Germany will assume the presidency in 2022. In particular from 2021, the G7 is again to prioritise gender equality as was the case in previous years. Das Bundesfrauenministerium (the Federal Ministry for Women) continues to support an ambitious agenda through the G7 Working Group on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.
Equality of Women and Girls at G20 level
Gender equality issues are also on the agenda of the G20. Unlike at the G7, there has not been a separate G20 meeting of gender equality ministers and there is no separate G20 working group on gender equality. Rather, the economic empowerment of women, their equal participation in the labour market or topics such as combatting gender-specific violence, protecting women from violence or achieving gender equality in education and participation have been addressed as a cross-cutting issue during G20 presidencies, in particular since the G20 presidency of Australia in 2014.
The Federal Ministry for Women supports the G20's gender equality process, which is coordinated within the Federal Government by the Federal Chancellery, in an advisory role.
Selected gender equality activities of the G20
At the G20 Summit in Brisbane, the G20 agreed the so-called "25 by 25" target, which aims to reduce the existing gender gap in labour force participation by 25 percent by 2025 and to remove gender-specific differences.
Under the G20 presidency of Turkey in 2015, a Women20 outreach group (W20) was set up for the first time to promote women's economic empowerment. Its task is to provide constructive and critical support in the implementation of the G20's resolutions on gender equality through advice and recommendations. Germany is represented in this group by the Deutscher Frauenrat (National Council of German Women's Organizations, DF) and the Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen (Association of German Women Entrepreneurs, VdU).
During the German G20 presidency (2017), the W20 organised its first large-scale dialogue forum on gender equality between civil society and government representatives, including the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Minister for Women.
The Federal Ministry for Women supported the W20's demands and was actively committed to them, resulting in their inclusion in the Hamburg G20 Leaders' Declaration.
One example in this regard was the launch of a multilateral fund to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries (We-Fi) at the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg.
Germany continues to be the largest donor of the fund, which had a start-up capital of 325 million US-Dollars.
The G20 presidencies of Argentina (2018) and Japan (2019) placed their gender equality focus mainly on issues involving the economic empowerment of women, with Argentina focusing on women in rural areas in particular.
In 2020, Saudi Arabia holds the G20 Presidency and addresses gender equality as a cross-cutting issue under its G20 Motto "Equal Opportunities for Women and Youth". In 2021, Italy will take over the G20 presidency, followed by India in 2022. For more information and the resolutions taken at the G7 and G20 summits, visit the Federal Government's website and the website of the respective country holding the presidency.