W7 Forum “Starting from girls” charts an agenda for women’s health & equality


“Starting from girls,” the Women’s Forum on inequality and sustainable growth”, took place at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome. The forum centered on the principle that strengthening young women’s rights and capabilities is an essential element towards their transformation into potential envoys of change. Gender equality is a key priority area in the Italian G7 Presidency Agenda and this gathering aimed to formulate policy recommendations to convey to the Heads of State and of Government meeting in Taormina at the end of May.

Angelino Alfano, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs in his welcome address to the close to 100 participants gathered, underlined the importance of empowering young women saying, "“Strengthening the rights and abilities of young women is a prerequisite for helping them become agents of change. Bridging the gender gap is vital to ensure inclusive processes of growth and development, in line with the priorities of our Presidency of the G7.”

The Forum seeks to build an international alliance of women's empowerment, as an indispensable piece of more equitable and sustainable growth; fostering dialogue among civil society, business, academia, and the G7 institutional representatives.

At the end of the two day meeting, Italian Prime Minister Paola Gentiloni welcomed a proposal by former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and civil rights activist Emma Bonino, to form a gender task force to monitor the results obtained from the G7 countries and produce a report by 2019. The Forum produced a declaration with recommendations envisioned to will lay the ground work for the project in Taormina and carried forward with the Canadian G7 presidency next year.

The Forum was organized in collaboration with Aspen Initiative for Europe, WE-Women Empower the World and “Valore D”.

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“Differences among us are an asset not a liability."
Emma Bonino, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“We need to fight the right battle. We need to fight for health. Investing in health is instrumental to economic growth.”
Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General, WHO.

"You did not have to be a slave to fight to end slavery. You don't have to be a woman to fight for gender equality."
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women.

"We need an economic and rights lens to girls, women's health and to fund participation in programs and policies."
Gogontlejang Phaladi, PMNCH Board member representing the Adolescent & Youth Constituency.

"Priority is to keep women central, particularly in humanitarian settings. Equal pay is not a feminine matter; it's a democracy matter!"
Maria Patrizia Grieco, President , Enel.

"We need a data revolution for adolescent girls. Data speaks, and today they are staggering."
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.