G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting in London this week will invest $15 billion in development finance over the next two years to help women in developing countries access jobs, build resilient businesses and respond to the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19.
They will also sign up to new global targets to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low and lower middle income countries by 2026.
Educating girls is one of the smartest investments countries can make to lift people out of poverty, grow economies, save lives, and build back better from Covid-19. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live beyond the age of 5 years, twice as likely to attend school themselves - and 50% more likely to be immunised.
The $15 billion in funding is for the 2X Challenge, a partnership between G7 Development Finance Institutions [DFIs] launched in 2018. It leverages funding from DFIs and Multilateral Development Banks to provide finance to female owned and staffed businesses or products or services that particularly benefit women, supporting female economic empowerment.
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and profound impact on women and girls, including losing precious school time, reduced access to lifesaving sexual and reproductive health services, a spike in gender-based violence, and increased risk of job loss.
Now, these fresh commitments by the world’s leading democracies, driven by the UK government, put gender equality at the heart of global co-operation to build back better from COVID-19.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:
Ensuring girls get 12 years of quality education and women can work and earn an income are some of the smartest investments we can make to change the world, transforming the fortunes not just of individuals, but whole communities and nations.
This year, as we build back better from the pandemic, the UK is putting girls’ and women’s rights at the heart of our G7 presidency, uniting countries that share our values so we shape a better path ahead.
The collective G7 agreement to meet girls’ education targets comes ahead of the UK and Kenya co-hosted Global Education Summit in London in July, which will raise funds for the Global Partnership for Education.