Some of the most influential world leaders have gathered at the G7 Summit this week, and there’s one image that paints a picture of just how underrepresented women remain in global political leadership.
In an image captured of the leaders at the G7, there is not one national female leader from seven of the world’s leading industrialised nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Instead, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Mario Draghi, Fumio Kishida, Boris Johnson, and Joe Biden, make up the G7 leaders.
Noticeably absent is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was so often pictured as the only woman at these global summits, until her retirement last year.
For sixteen years, Merkel was the most prominent female political leader in Europe, and a leading figure of democracy and stability. It’s not easy to forget the iconic image of Merkel leaning on a table, talking sternly with Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in 2019. Following her retirement, Merkel was replaced by Olaf Scholz, the new Chancellor of Germany, pictured in the middle in the image above.
For a short time, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May was another female leader in attendance at the G7, before she was replaced in 2019 by Boris Johnson, the current prime minister.
In other images, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been pictured alongside the other seven leaders. It is usual practice for the European Commission President and the President of the European Council to be additional attendees at G7 meetings.
The G7, originally the G8, was established in 1975 as an informal forum to bring together leaders of the world’s leading industrialised nations. It is a platform that has helped shape political responses to global challenges.
This year, the G7 leaders were addressed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who urged the leaders to keep pressure on Russia with sanctions and asked for more heavy weapons to be supplied to Ukraine.
They also pledged to raise $600 billion over five years to provide infrastructure in developing countries, to counter China’s multi trillion-dollar Belt and Road project. Securing energy supplies and climate change have also been on the agenda.
Without an adequate representation of women leaders at the G7, the voices of women and girls have largely been left out of the conversation for another year. It’s concerning at a time when the world is facing so many complex, pressing issues.