Women 20 calls on G20 leaders to promote women’s economic empowerment for inclusive economic growth

Delegates of the first-ever Women 20 Summit called on G20 leaders to promote women’s economic empowerment for gender-inclusive global economic growth.


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Women 20 Summit. Photo: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey

Delegates of Women 20 (W20), a new engagement group under the auspices of the G20 to advance the economic empowerment of women, gathered in Istanbul on 16-17 October 2015 for the first-ever W20 Summit. After two days of thorough consultations on the gender-related aspects of the global economy, the delegates put forward a set of policy recommendations to support the G20 leaders in their ongoing work to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The delegates of W20 called on the G20 Leaders to; address women’s economic empowerment by building strong ties between education, employment and entrepreneurship; support work-life balance; increase the number of women in leadership positions; eliminate workplace discrimination and ensure women’s access to assets and markets among some other policy recommendations for all-inclusive economic growth.

Marking a historic step for women’s rights and gender equality, representatives of G20 countries, that constitute two-thirds of the world’s population and 85 per cent of GDP, launched a new engagement group to advance the economic empowerment of women.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photo: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey

Speaking at the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed to the fact that women’s employment rate is 58 per cent among the G20 countries whereas men’s is 86 per cent, adding that G20 countries are working towards increasing women’s employment. “We need growth and women’s participation in the labour market is the most important opportunity for the growth we seek,” said Mr. Erdogan.

Opening the summit in Istanbul, W20 Chair Gülden Türktan stressed the need for an all-inclusive economy, “If G20 countries create jobs for 100 million women in 10 years, this would create an economy as big as the combined economies of Germany, England and Japan,” said Ms. Türktan.

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UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. Photo: UN Women

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, who also addressed the summit, emphasized G20’s important role in taking a lead to achieve gender equality commitments of the 2030 Development Agenda that was adopted by Member States last month. She also stressed the importance of G20’s leadership in promoting high-level discussion of policy issues on financial stability, the acceleration of growth and creating jobs, adopting gender equality and women’s empowerment as a priority. 

 “W20 is a critical vehicle in supporting the integration and mainstreaming of gender equality and women’s empowerment into the G20 policy discourse, decision-making and their implementation… W20 can be a vehicle for holding the G20 accountable for commitments made to gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said Ms. Puri.

UN Women is a technical resource to regional and other groups drawing attention to key findings in research, such as Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016, which provides guidance on transforming economies and realizing rights.

W20 delegates encouraged W20 Country Representatives to meet with their respective G20 Sherpa in the lead up to the Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey on 15-16 November, 2015.