- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 19, 2019

PARIS (AP) - Human rights advocates met Tuesday in Paris to discuss potential strategies leading industrial nations could employ to reduce violence and discrimination against women.

French President Emmanuel Macron named 35 advocates to give the Group of Seven recommendations, France took over the G-7’s presidency on Jan. 1, and Macron has said he wants gender equality to be a main focus.

The advocates are addressing three main topics: combating violence against women, promoting girls’ education and women’s entrepreneurship.

Participants include three Nobel Peace Prize winners: Tunisian businesswoman Wided Bouchamaoui, Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege and Yazidi activist Nadia Murad. Actress Emma Watson, a United Nations goodwill ambassador on gender equality issues, also is part of the group.

During their meeting with Macron at the Elysee Palace, group members left an empty chair for human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is imprisoned in Iran.

Sotoudeh has fought against laws that discriminate against women and represented women who removed their headscarves in protest last year.

Macron said France was financing a 120-million euro ($136 million) fund to help women’s rights movements across the world, especially in developing countries.

The other G-7 countries are Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

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