Girls' & Women's Rights
EVENT REPORT: 2023 Japan W7 Summit
16 April, 2023 at Hamarikyu Asahi Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Disability women's rights activist Naoko Kawaguchi speaks during Session 1: "Intersectionality & Gender"
On April 16, 2023, the W7 Summit (Women’s7) was held in Tokyo, Japan, where women’s rights activists and advocacy groups joined together to discuss and promote feminist demands for an equal, just, and peaceful future ahead of the upcoming G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan. The Summit was attended by individuals of all ages, genders, sexualities, abilities, classes, races, ethnicities, and nationalities, and centered intersectionality and the multiplicity of gender-based inequality and discrimination as the overarching theme of both the Summit and the Communique’s recommendations.
Thematic Session 1: “Intersectionality and Gender” coincided with the Summit’s overarching theme, and featured women’s rights activists who presented on and personally identified with the topics of Disability x women, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) x women, Conflict x women, Youth x women, and Ethnicity x women. The presentations highlighted how the activists’ own experiences with discrimination, violence, and inequality as women, an oppressed gender group, “intersected” and reinforced their experiences as members of other oppressed groups. For example, disability women’s rights activist Naoko Kawaguchi revealed how disabled women are excluded from gender roles traditionally expected of women and face harassment and violence at home and in the workplace if they attempt to fulfill these roles, such as by getting married or having a child. In the context of Japan, SOGI women’s rights activist Maki Muraki disclosed the difficulties in maintaining Japanese traditional gender norms, including acting “girly” and always smiling, as a lesbian woman living in Osaka, and fourth generation women’s rights activist Park Koonae described how the hate speech and hate crimes Korean women face in Japan have a gender dimension and particularly target women. Remarks by State Minister on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Masanobu Ogura followed, and questions addressed to him focused on sexual education, contraceptive access, and oral abortion in Japan.
The W7 2023 Communique, which includes 5 focus areas to ensure an equal, just, and peaceful future.
Thematic Session 2: “Collaboration with other Engagement Groups and Beyond,” featured speakers from the B7 (Business7), C7 (Civil Society7), P7 (Pride7), S7 (Science7), T7 (Think7), Y7 (Youth7), W20 (Women’s20), and G7 (Group of 7), all of who discussed the importance of advancing women’s rights and gender equality in their own work and Summits. Thematic Session 3: “This is our W7 Communique” included presentations by the five working groups on the five focus areas of the Communique, including 1-Women’s Empowerment, Meaningful Participation, and Leadership; 2-Economic Justice and Care Strategy; 3-Bodily Autonomy and Self-Determination: Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC); 4-Feminist Foreign Policy for Sustainability and Justice: Responses to Multiple Gendered Humanitarian Crises, and Women, Peace, and Security; and 5-Accountability and Financing for Gender Equality. All of the focus areas of the Communique prioritized intersectionality, collaboration with feminist NGOs and civil society, funding for feminist NGOs and programs promoting gender equality, the inclusion of women and gender-perspectives in policy development and implementation, and the protection of women from exploitation and violence. In Thematic Session 4: “The Way Forward: How Can the G7 Be Accountable,” leaders from each of these working groups discussed ways to ensure that G7 leaders listen to and take action on the recommendations in the Communique, followed by a Question and Answer Session with W7 participants.