Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment advocates met this week at the Kirchner Cultural Center (CCK) for the W20 Summit.
The first day of public sessions opened with the representatives from the G20 Troika countries (Germany, Argentina, and Japan). Argentine W20 Chair Susana Balbo stated in her opening speech that the objective is a “world that doesn’t leave people behind, that includes a peaceful and sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.” Balbo underscored the challenges for rural women stating that “women represent an invisible 40 percent in the system, please do not abandon them.”
W20 Germany Chair Mona Küppers addressed the gap in gender equality, stating: “diversity is our asset, even if we represent different cultures, we all have in common the fact that no country in this world has achieved gender equality.” W20 Japan Chair Yoriko Meguro, who will lead the W20 in 2019, urged a call to action: “We have bridged the gap only a 0.6 percent between 2012 and 2015. The G20 countries need to accelerate the implementations and report the results annually.”
After three days of private and public sessions, W20 Chair Balbo submitted the Women20’s final communiqué to President Mauricio Macri. W20, among engagement groups, has been diligently working throughout the year to produce an agreement among G20 countries with the focus on labor, digital, financial inclusion, and rural development.
The communiqué begins acknowledging UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” For increasing and improving women’s participation in the labor force, the W20 recommends several items, including a commitment to reducing the gender gap in the labor force participation “by 25 percent by 2025 by developing and funding National Plans and reporting the progress on an annual basis.” In terms of guaranteeing women’s financial inclusion, the W20 group recommends that G20 countries “enhance transparency and support measures for public procurement contracts awarded to women-owned and women-led businesses, and increase their share by a minimum of 10 percent.”
To ensure women’s digital inclusion, G20 countries should consider “guaranteeing inclusive educational programs through the promotion and investment in initiatives that boost equal participation of women and girls in STEAM studies and support women’s digital rights and citizenship.” Finally, to foster the development of rural women, the W20 indicates the need to “allocate or increase funds for women living in rural areas to strengthen their cooperatives, entrepreneurship, organizations, and value chains” while “promoting access to credit and training, enabling women’s economic participation and inclusion in decision making and governance.”
The communiqué concludes that to ensure sustainable development, it is “imperative to adopt a comprehensive human rights perspective on gender equality and to develop evidence-based policies that recognize and address structural differences.” Furthermore that G20 countries should “support gender budgeting” and together with international partner organizations and relevant national partners, “develop statistical systems based on indicators that are gender dis-aggregated and consider women in all their diversity.”
In accepting the communiqué, Macri stated that when Argentina took the G20 presidency, “we decided to mainstream the gender perspective in the agenda. But you know better than anyone that inequality is not an issue for women only, it involves, and affects us all.” At the end of his speech, Macri concluded, “We have a long way to go for equality, the good news is that we are doing it together and once and for all, there is no turning back.”
The G20 Leaders’ Summit will be held later this year on November 30-December 1st.