“Women, we are all what Victor Hugo called in Hernani: ‘a force that goes.’” These were the parting words of France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron before she left the French Consulate General in New York on Tuesday, September 24, where the panel of the G7 Advisory Council for Equality between Women and Men was held.
To ensure the continuity of the G7 summit in Biarritz, the Council of experts and leading figures from around the world met to present its report on gender equality, one of the priorities of the French presidency of the G7 in 2019. Marlène Schiappa, Secretary of State for Equality between Women and Men, was also present.
Before the panel revealed its recommendations and calls to action, the First Lady wanted to speak to apologize for the absence of President Emmanuel Macron. “He has a lot of trouble getting away because his schedule is very busy. Even if he is at this moment with Donald, know that he is with you.”
“There are three things that interest the President: emancipating, especially through entrepreneurship in Africa; protecting women; and, of course, ensuring true equality. Now, there’s work to be done, but we’re going to do it,” she said. “My goal is education, for girls and boys, because everything starts in childhood, everything is solidified in childhood.”
The panel focused on the presentation of legal and financial tools to combat inequalities. The Council has three main objectives: the protection of women against violence, girls’ access to education, and women’s empowerment through women’s entrepreneurship, particularly in Africa, a strategic partner of the G7.
The panel was marked by the presence of the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winners: Nadia Murad, Iranian activist and United Nations ambassador, and Denis Mukwege, gynecologist and human rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “This is the beginning of our mission,” said Nadia Murad. “We need the support of men. We need everyone on our side.”