Gender equality contributes to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.
At their summit in Brisbane in 2014, G20 leaders agreed to focus on gender equality challenges at the strategic level. They committed to ‘women’s full economic and social participation' to reducing the gender gap in participation by 25 per cent by 2025; and to bringing more than 100 million women into the labour force.
To make the world’s premier economic forum accountable for progress on this crucial front, the engagement group known as the ‘Women 20’ (W20) was created in early 2015.
Progress towards gender equality at work has been slow. Contrary to conventional wisdom, global rates of female labour force participation have stagnated, or even fallen, in recent decades.
This paper-brief seeks to inform the work of the W20 in expanding women’s economic opportunities. It begins by outlining the origins and objectives of the W20, then highlights the key gaps in economic opportunities for women and girls in G20 countries, identifying common challenges as well as distinguishing features and constraint
- To close labour force participation gaps is to change legal rules and institutions that restrict women’s opportunities, and to review the scope for specific measures and investments to support the expansion of opportunities.
- Governments should eliminate all legal discrimination against women and review policies to support their participation in the labour market, including investment in social infrastructure for the care of children and the elderly.
- Governments can also lead by example, including by undertaking gender audits of their own workforces, and increasing the share of public procurement sourced to companies that meet specified gender criteria.
- Private-sector leadership and innovation on gender equality are also needed to promote and support progress.
Research paper (2015) (pdf.) A Profile of Gender Disparities in the G20: What is Needed to Close Gaps in the Labour Market
photo: (*) Photosolde