Today and tomorrow, this year's G8 summit will be held in France. The G8 (Group of 8) country participants represent the world's wealthiest economies. As these world leaders meet to discuss the issues on their agenda, MADRE asserts once again that women's human rights worldwide must be a guiding principle of economic planning.
Ensuring women's participation in policymaking is integral to achieving any significant strides on the issues which this year's G8 is poised to address. These issues include global health, food security and the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa, among others. Through MADRE's work, we have seen again and again that women hold effective solutions to the most pressing challenges of our day.
On Global Health: Women are often their families' principal caretakers, responsible for children and adult family members when they fall ill and for ensuring the health and well-being of their communities. Only with women's knowledge and input can the G8 bring about any significant improvements in the health of families and communities worldwide.
- Women in Guatemala City who organize health fairs in their community that has no other source of care.
- Midwives in Palestine and Israel who come together to act on their commitment to their profession and to peace, helping to ensure a safe birth for every mother.
On Food Security: Women farmers, who grow the bulk of their community's food in many rural areas, know intimately what must be done to ensure their community's access to food. We have seen that giving women the tools and resources they need to engage in sustainable agriculture helps to guarantee the right to food for their communities. The G8 must include these women among its crucial stakeholders.
- Women farmers in Sudan who have banded together to form the country's first women farmers' union, working to sustain their communities.
- Indigenous women in Nicaragua who use organic farming and sustainable livestock-management methods, strategies proven effective in combating climate change.
On Revolution in the Middle East: Finally, as leaders in the revolution that have swept across the Middle East, women demand that their calls for human rights be answered. Too often we have seen women fight for social change, and then be blocked from policymaking discussions that decide the future of their countries. But women demand to participate in the creation of new democracies in the Middle East, and the G8 must listen to their perspectives.
- Iraqi women who are in the leadership of their country's pro-democracy movement and who are organizing with women throughout the region to ensure that their voices are heard.
- Egyptian women who are now under threat for continuing to demand a role for women in their country's future.
For more information:
- Politics Could Dominate G8 Summit of World Leaders, IPS News
- G8: Sarkozy Welcomes Leaders, The Huffington Post
- Parlimentarians Ask G8 to Focus on Women, IPS News