As host of the this year’s G7, it may be Trudeau’s defining moment as a world leader as he tries to build consensus on how to deal with the world’s many challenges and on how to shape the global agenda going forward.
Trudeau has made gender equality a top priority of Canada’s G7 Presidency. Nowhere is the inequity greater than access to education for girls in conflict situations. They are 2.5 more likely to be out of school than boys. Many spend their entire childhood displaced. The seed of knowledge implanted in their fertile minds and their unrealized potential an incalculable casualty.
A coalition of NGOs has asked Trudeau to push for a G7 Declaration for Educating and Empowering Girls in Crisis. G7 countries would be asked to pledge $1.3 billion over three years which would ensure that 3.7 million children get an education during a crisis and after resettlement.
A month ago at the first Women’s W7 Summit, in Ottawa, Trudeau declared “Investing in girls’ education, especially in crisis situations, is a vital part of making [gender equality] a reality.” If Canada made a substantial funding commitment to this new fund before the Summit, it would have a catalytic effect. Noble words call for noble deeds.