Seven women from countries including Ukraine, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have written to G7 leaders to offer a first-hand perspective on how the world’s most pressing crises are affecting women and girls globally.
Despite crises and disasters disproportionately affecting women and girls, women are wholly underrepresented in political leadership and decision-making positions. Only 10 countries currently have a female head of state and only 13 countries have a woman head of government. Now, with the absence of Angela Merkel for the first time since 2005, this G7 will be the first summit without a female representative from a nation-state for 17 years.
CARE International UK is a leading international development charity that places a special focus on working with women and girls and their communities to overcome the complex drivers of poverty and intersecting inequalities. CARE has co-ordinated the series of seven letters, written by women from around the world addressed the world leaders attending the G7 in Germany this week.
In the letters, the women provide their own perspectives for world leaders as they seek to address major global issues, such as climate change and conflict. The letters are:
- Badia* from Afghanistan writes about the impact of the food crisis on her family
- Daria, a Ukrainian refugee, shares her story of fleeing war, her gratitude to her host country of Poland, and asks G7 leaders to continue to support vulnerable Ukrainian refugees and need for relief for refugees worldwide, no matter which crisis they are fleeing.
- Adenike from the Lake Ched region of Nigeria describes the impact of the climate crisis on women and girls in her community, and outlines the support they need from world leaders
- Marwa, a 15-year-old Syrian girl dreams of being an architect so she can rebuild her home country. She asks leaders for support for returning home and having access to opportunities there.
- Dalia from Yemen describes living through over 2,600 days of conflict and asks leaders to give women in Yemen the platform to have a voice and be at the centre of finding solutions.
- Ruma a garment worker in Bangladesh asks countries to ratify R190 and G7 to lead the way for no woman’s workplace to be a place of harassment and sexual violence
- Hodan, a 15-year-old from Somalia, writes about the barrier to education for girls and her personal experience of being forced to leave school due the ongoing drought in Somalia. She calls on leaders to ensure that girls like her can complete their education.
CARE International works with women and girls and their communities to overcome the complex drivers of poverty. All women featured in the letters have worked with CARE International - whether as participants such as Badia who have received food parcels from CARE - or later as working for CARE as Daria has done. The letters to G7 are the first action in CARE’s campaign to #ChangeTheStory around women’s representation.
Helen Pankhurst CBE, CARE International UK's Special Adviser on Gender Equality, said:
“These letters from around the globe illustrate just some of the challenges so many women face around the world.
“If women are to be equally valued, they need to be equally represented. It is not only about fairness, but about ensuring appropriate policies because different perspectives are seen and understood.
“We no longer even have a single female leader of a nation-state present around the G7 table. This feels like a sad testimony of lack of progress, in fact, the reverse. Now more than ever the most powerful men on the planet need to listen to the priorities of women and girls brought into policy and action.
“It's time that we changed the story on women’s representation, and that starts with their voices being heard.”
Each of the seven letters in full can be viewed here.
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