What Is The G7 And Why Are People Criticising Their Summit Photos?

"It's not the absence of ties that jumps out to me so much..."
Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images

The annual G7 summit has kicked off and photos from the event are already causing a stir.

International tensions are particularly high at the moment, in light of the Roe v Wade ruling, inflation rates and Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, all topics which the G7 will be touching on during this annual meeting.

Although there won’t be any new laws brought in, here’s why this group matters – and why the pictures from the international event are proving to be such a talking point.

Who is in the G7?

The UK, the US, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Germany are all part of the group, which is why it is nicknamed G7.

It is essentially a gathering the world’s richest nations who dominate global trade and finances. Together, they represent 40% of global GDP and a tenth of the world’s population.

Russia joined in 1998, at which point it became the G8, but the country was kicked out for taking over Crimea in 2014.

China has never been a member, due to the low level of wealth per person in the country, even though it has a large economy and the largest population in the world.

Representatives from the EU – the council president Charles Michel and European commission president President Ursula von der Leyen – also attend summits despite not being members of the G7.

Germany became the G7 president in January 2022, which is why it hosted the annual summit this year.

And why are people criticising the new photos?

It has not escaped the general public that, following the end of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s time in office, all of the G7 leaders are now men.

This has become painfully obvious in the new images released for this year’s summit in Germany.

The only woman who appears to be sitting in on leadership meetings is von der Leyen, but she is not officially part of the political group as she represents the EU. This is the first time in 16 years a nationally elected woman is not at the summit.

Alongside the images released of the leaders wearing suits are the photos of their (female) spouses going on Nordic walks in casual wear through various fields.

This has raised certain questions about how women are portrayed at such events, and how we still have a long way to go on equality:

Even in the photos showing the group members alongside their guests, only three women out of 20 were present.

Another Twitter user pointed out the timing of the photo release. The US Supreme Court overruled the absolute right to have an abortion on Friday – adding a “particular sting” to the images, as global concern over women’s rights rises.

Why is this group so important?

The G7 ministers meet throughout the year and form agreements over various global happenings.

As a group, it does not have any legislative power because the countries have their own democratic processes, but when they operate together they can exert immense influence.

In 2002, the G7 helped set up a global fund to fight malaria and Aids. Last year, the countries agreed to make multinational companies pay more tax, and to unite against the climate crisis.

The group has also been united in the way it is handling the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

How are the G7 work together over Ukraine?

The G7 have imposed the largest ever package of sanctions on an economy against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Not only were individual oligarchs punished but Russia has been blocked out of international commerce and financial systems.

The G7 members who are part of Nato have also been providing the besieged country with weapons and other military equipment.

The group has faced criticism for not doing more though, including restricting the import of Russian oil and gas.

The US is already banned all Russian oil and gas, while the UK is planning to phase it out. Germany has suspended progress of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

However, the EU has only agreed to reduce its Russian gas imports by two-thirds – and Ukraine wants the bloc to do more.

What can we expect from this summit?

Further support has been announced for Ukraine, with the US considering sending more artillery to help the country fight Russia.

The leaders will also be looking for a way to end the global food crisis. Ukraine, as one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, has not been able to ship out its produce due to the invasion – meaning other nations are starting to starve.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “Global leaders need to come together and apply their combined economic and political heft to help Ukraine and make life easier for households across the world. Nothing should be off the table.”

However, tensions have arisen between the UK and the US over attempts to cut fuel and living costs.

Johnson wants to temporarily cut biofuel productions, so more land could be freed up for food production, but the US has blocked his attempts.

The leaders will also be looking into a dialogue around climate change, by inviting their counterparts from India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina.


What's Hot