(9th May 2017)
Mabel Bianco, the President of FEIM, participated in the Argentinean delegation for Women20, the G20 Women’s Forum, which took place in the city of Berlin from the 24th to 26th April. The meeting had over 400 participants, including the delegations of the twenty member states, as well as representatives from multilateral organisations such as UN Women, the European Union, amongst others.
The goal of the summit was to create proposals for G20, prioritising actions for improving the conditions of women’s lives. This year, the focus was put on topics related to the economic empowerment of women in the agenda, and the reduction of laboral, financial, and digital gender gaps.
At the end of the meeting, an Action Plan including five points was approved, containing measures to be developed in the member countries in order to strengthen the economic empowerment of women. Women20 has been running for the past three years, since its inception in Australia, and this was the first time that it elaborated a wide action plan. This plan was synthesised in a statement given to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as the interim president of G20. It is hoped that the proposals will be considered in the meeting of all of the countries in July and that the five points will be included in the signed agreement.
Prior to the presentation of the statement to Merkel, during the final session of the meeting, a round table took place with the participation of four Women20 representatives, who synthesised the Action Plan and asked questions to the Chancellor. Then, three more questions were opened up for the public to ask her. Mabel Bianco asked the Chancellor, “You especially supported this W20 meeting and we are very thankful because you shared three events with all of us. You also allowed W20 to participate in the Sherpa meetings, but we want to participate more, we want to be able to participate in all instances of negotiation of G20. To achieve this, what will you do to help during the rest of your presidency to make this possible? Seeing as next year Argentina will have the G20 presidency, what do you recommend that we as Argentinean women do in order to ensure this?”
“This session was very important because it allowed for an exchange for almost two hours with Chancellor Merkel, as the President of G20, in the hope that the proposals were well understood and transmitted for the other leaders of G20,” considered Bianco.
The statement of W20 states that, “G20 policies tend to be gender-blind, but they are not automatically gender-neutral in their outcome,” and underlines five points:
- The W20 calls on the G20 member states to systematically integrate gender analysis and gender budgeting into all of its agenda, growth strategy and policy frameworks.
- The W20 urges the G20 to advance member state policies towards the ‘25 by 25’ target set by G20 for reducing the gender labour participation gap, resulting in a 25 per cent improvement by 2025, by putting forward national plans of actions and monitoring its progress with support from the OECD and the ILO.
- The W20 recommends that the G20 supports women entrepreneurs and female cooperatives to start up and scale their operations, build capacity, ensure their equal access to finance and markets, and accord them their fair share in global value chains.
- The W20 calls on the G20 to swiftly bridge the widening digital gender divide and take inspiration from the ‘Women’s Initiative in Developing STEM Career (WINDS)’ by setting up a comprehensive 5-year plan for gender-equal digital transformation, thereby partnering with ‘EQUALS’, an initiative implemented by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the GSM Association (GSMA) and UN Women.
- The W20 calls on the G20’s Presidencies to ensure access to the G20 negotiation tracks and G20 Sherpa meetings.
Women20 was organised in Germany alongside the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen – VdU) and the National Council of German Women’s Organisations (Deutscher Frauenrat), which unites more than fifty women’s associations and organisations from Germany.
Along with Bianco, the Argentinean delegation of W20-Germany was made up of the National Deputy and President of W20-Argentina, Susana Bilbao; Silvia Lommi, the subsecretary of the National Council of Women; Alicia Vázquez, from the Ministry of Labour; Gala Díaz Langou and Gimena de Leon from CIPPEC; and Delia Flores from the Entrepreneurial Group of Argentinean Women (GEMA).
The meeting received the most attention on its first day during the high-level panel, which had the participation of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Queen of Holland Maxima Zorreguieta, the President of the IMF Christine Lagarde, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Ivanka Trump as the representative of the US goverment, amongst others. During this panel, the participants responded to questions asked by the moderator, a German journalist. Ivanka Trump was consulted about remarks made by her father about women and her reponses were met with expressions of disgust, which were commented on in the international press.
In 2018, the Argentinean Government will be in charge of the interim presidency of G20, and the women’s group meeting will be organised in our country with the active participation of women’s organisations and women entrepreneurs.