Who makes the decisions that affect our lives? Who are the lawmakers, the judges, the legislative council members and policy creators? Who has a say in these halls of power? Whose voice is heard? Whose opinion and agenda and priorities are centred, validated and legitimised via national and international statues?
In 2019, in the most publicly prominent gathering of world leaders, this picture says it all.
It continues to be men.
Can you see what I see? 24 world leaders at the G7 Summit. 24 of the world’s biggest economic and political agitators and heads of state. In those 24 countries, only one woman has managed to rapture the global endemic patriarchal systems that continues to disrupt our ascension to the top.
And it’s the top where the agenda is set; it’s at the top where individuals can agitate for change, assert their priorities, grant visibility and represent the under-represented, the victimised, the voiceless.
In 2019, it continues to be women who are under-represented, victimised and voiceless; it continues to be women who are economically penalised in the workplace (unequal pay), women who take on the majority of unpaid work, and women who are victims of under-reported crime – because sexual violence, and rape continues to be is the most under-reported violent crime.
Telling photo from G7 Summit, 2018
The G7 is meant to generate global results that affect more than the seven countries represented. It has historical weight, political influence and shapes foreign policy.
This year, Angela Merkel was the only woman present in this global gathering. She remains, alongside Theresa May last year, the only women present to help prioritise the social, cultural, economic and political codification of women’s rights.
Let’s hope in the future, she won’t have to bare this burden alone. Although the reality is bleak given Merkel is stepping down in 2021. (She could still be replaced by a woman).