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We call on G20 leaders to ensure inclusive economic recovery, says Salma al-Rashid

Salma al-Rashid  

The Women 20 (W20) is an official engagement group of the G20, and ensures gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions. This year’s W20 Sherpa, Salma al-Rashid stressed the need for member states to foster gender equality as they reset their economies.

Who are the members of W20?

The W20 comprises representatives from across the member States- 19 countries and the European Union. We are independent of government, and our members represent the voices of the people. Our members are from entrepreneur leadership, academics, professors, civil society leaders.  

Our main task is to put forth policy recommendations that ensure further advancing of women's economic empowerment and gender considerations are at the forefront of G20 discussions.

Your Open Letter requests Member States to follow the recommendations included in your Communique. What are these recommendations?

We shared our Communique last month. It contains two sets of recommendations. We are calling on the G20 leaders to take immediate action to ensure that economic recovery is based on the principle of inclusiveness. We are also pushing for legal and social reform as well as equitable labour and financial inclusion and G20 accountability. These are recommendations which will ensure that G20 is able to achieve SDGs and sustainable balanced growth that provides for everyone.

What was the process involved in drafting the Communique?

The process we follow for drafting our communique is the same as that followed by the G20, which includes consensus building and not just paying attention to the voice of the majority. Each one of us has to agree on what our priorities are. The realities of women across different countries vary, but there are many similarities too such as demands for flexible working hours, access to healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But our starting points may be different. So, we need to bring everyone together while preparing our recommendations.

A study points out that most committees formed by different countries to devise an action plan to curb the spread of COVID-19 were male dominated. How do you think this has affected women’s lives around the world and in Saudi Arabia?

This is a concern for the W20, and we call it the “missing voices”. Women's voices have been largely missing in the response teams, committees, and in the initial support package. This is despite the fact that this is the first war that is being fought with women in the frontline. We called upon the G20 in its Extraordinary Summit in March to ensure inclusive decision making. Be it reproductive health or gender-based violence, we need to ensure a gendered approach to this pandemic.

COVID-19 did not show us anything we didn't know , but it laid them bare. This is an opportunity to reset and build back better. Before the pandemic there were 740 million women in the informal sector. Women also constitute 70% of social and health sector. (which are under immense strain due to the pandemic). Another sector which is hit the hardest is tourism, which held the promise of closing the gender gap.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:49:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/we-call-on-g20-leaders-to-ensure-inclusive-economic-recovery-says-salma-al-rashid/article33156248.ece

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