G20 Leaders should put women at the heart of all immediate and long-term post-Covid-19 recovery efforts, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Women 20 (W20), the official G20 engagement group for women’s empowerment, are urging in a joint statement.
The pandemic risks exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and reversing progress towards gender parity, the institutions say. Unless urgent action is taken, women stand to bear the brunt and be disproportionately impacted.
Issued in the run-up to a G20 leaders’ summit that will address the global financial crisis and propose reforms to foster sustainable growth and development, the appeal draws on policy recommendations with a strong focus on preserving and enhancing gender equality.
Thoraya Obaid, Women 20 Chair, said, “Women are drivers of economic recovery and resilience. Any focus on economic recovery must intrinsically build on gender, and the way to do this is through accelerating inclusive decision-making. The achievements of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Brisbane 25×25 target (a commitment to reduce the gender gap in labour force participation by 25 percent by 2025), are jeopardised unless G20 leaders pave the way for equitable economic recovery.”
Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD Vice President for Policy and Partnerships, said: “Policies implemented today to weather the Covid-19 impact will have long-lasting effects on our economies and the health of the private sector. G20 leaders have the unique opportunity to develop and influence gender-responsive recovery policies that preserve the gender equality gains achieved so far and to lay the groundwork for societies that benefit from the full participation of women in future economic activity.”
Targeted policies play an important role in protecting and promoting women’s participation in the economy, creating sustainable economic growth, reducing income inequality and contributing to greater stability in the financial sector, the report finds.
The EBRD and W20 have included in their policy brief a set of short, medium and long-term policy priorities and are calling on the G20 to mainstream gender equality, an essential part of the recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
G20 leaders have an opportunity to develop policy responses to the pandemic that immediately address women’s roles in healthcare, unpaid care and the workforce, creating a foundation for gender-equitable economic opportunity, the two institutions say.