G7 Governance of
Gender Equality and Women's Entrepreneurship
Julia Kulik, Director of Research, G7 Research Group
Prepared for Innovation, Entrepreneur and the Future High Level Roundtable Discussion, February 25, 2020, Ottawa, Canada
References to gender equality in G7 summit communiqués
- The G7 began addressing issues related to gender equality and the advancement of women in 1996 with sustained attention since 2001.
- References were largely made on improving girls' education in Africa and on women's health.
- The 2018 summit in Charlevoix, Canada, produced the most dramatic rise in attention to gender equality.
- Support for female entrepreneurship first appeared in 2004 at the Sea Island Summit in the United States, which recognized the importance of expanding access to microfinance.
- The 2017 summit in Taormina, Italy, produced the most attention to female entrepreneurship. It included a separate section titled G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment.
G7 actionable commitments to achieve gender equality
- References to gender equality did not produce a significant number of action-oriented commitments until 2015.
- The 2015 summit at Schloss Elmau, Germany, hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel, paid particular attention to women's economic empowerment.
- It made commitments to promote women's access to finance, markets, skills, leadership opportunities and networks; to reduce the gender gap in the workforce by 25% by 2025; and to increase the number of female students in science, technology, engineering and medicine and to broaden the participation of women in research, engineering and entrepreneurial careers.
G7 compliance with commitments to achieve gender equality
- The average compliance of G7 members with their gender equality commitments is 73%, just below the average of 75% for all commitments.
- Among G7 members, the highest compliers are Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The lowest compliers are Italy and Japan.
- Commitments related to women's health are most complied with.
At the 2017 summit in Taormina, Italy, G7 members committed to: "take sustainable measures at the appropriate level to provide training, mentoring and networking opportunities that specifically address the capacity-building needs of women entrepreneurs by 2020."
The following are a selection of actions taken by G7 members during the compliance period of 27 May 2017 to 7 June 2018:
- On 8 July 2017, Canada announced that it would give CAD20 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). We-Fi, led by the World Bank, will aim to help women-led and -owned businesses in developing countries access the resources they may need, such as financial or technical assistance.
- On 5 March 2018, France launched its 6th annual Youth Entrepreneurship Week. Women entrepreneurs were invited to share their experiences in educational establishments across France.
- On 2 May 2018, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) said it would provide USD20 million in long-term financing to Vietnam to promote women entrepreneurs. The funding was part of a USD150 million financing package created by the International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank Group. Up to 70% of the funding would go towards refinancing loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, of which at least a third are women owned.
- On 31 August 2017, the Campaign on Women's Entrepreneurship was launched. This campaign supports women's entrepreneurship and self-employment by promoting available resources within the Department for Equal Opportunities.
- On 8 July 2017, Japan announced that it would give USD50 million to We-Fi.
- On 8 July 2017, the United Kingdom announced that it would give USD10 million to We-Fi.
- On 8 July 2017, the United States announced that it would give USD50 million to We-Fi.
- On 8 March 2018, the European Union announced that it would increase the participation of women entrepreneurs in the digital sector through the strategy Women in Digital. The actions would primarily focus on three different areas, including challenging stereotypes women face, promoting digital skills and education and advocating for women entrepreneurs.
 Compliance assessed by Isabel Davis, G7 Research Group, February 2020.↩
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