WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT- challenges and perspectives for G20

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Professor Dr.h.c. Christa Randzio-Plath, President Marie-Schlei-Association

Former Vice-President of VENRO


C20 Forum 5, Hafencity University Hamburg, Marie Schlei Association

WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT- challenges and perspectives for G20

Outreach of the panel:


In many regions of this world women`s rights are under threat again.

G20 must reconfirm the equality between men and women and women rights as human rights. Women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite of sustainable development, inclusive growth, and the achievement of the UN Agenda 2030. At the same time, it is about rights and equitable societies.


G20-countries are no role model for equality of women in the economy and the labour markets. In the Gender Ranking of the World Economic Forum Saudi Arabia gets rank 141 out of 144 checked economies, Turkey 130, China 99, India 87, Germany 13, France 14. Genderranking is defined by employment rate, equal pay, women in leading positions and professionals (Global Gender Gap Report 2016). But gender economic empowerment – so the workshop- means more.

Gender Economic Empowerment means:

  • Higher employment rates of women- in the formal sector
  • Decent jobs
  • Equal Pay and social security
  • Equal access to leading positions
  • Decent care infrastructure
  • Equality plans in the private and public sector
  • Equal share of men and women in household and family
  • Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Budgeting


The workshop has been attended by around 50 participants from G20 countries like China, India, Russia, Turkey, Saudiarabia, US, Canada, Argentina, Germany and some NGO from other countries like African countries.


Achieving women’s economic empowerment will need sound public policies, a comprehensive approach and long-time commitment from actors in the G20 countries but also in view to all UN family members.


Start with women by integrating gender-specific perspectives at the design stage of policy and programming. Women experience barriers in almost every aspect of work. Even legally. Employment opportunities need to be improved. At the same time women perform the bulk of unpaid care work. Innovative approaches and partnerships are needed to scale up women’s economic empowerment. Gender equality, the empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic, social, and ecological sustainable development.


G20 underlines the necessity for increasing the employment rate of women by 25% by 2025 to increase the growth rate of the world economy. This is not the right approach: many women work world-wide in the informal sector und poor jobs. They need decent jobs in the terms of the International Labour Organisation. How to achieve economic empowerment of women?


The Workshop


The Workshop started with presentations on the Challenges for gender economic empowerment.

Davies Okombo, UCDP, NGO Kenia, being president of the CSO Working group on equality and Valeria Milanis, Associacion por los derechos civiles, Argentina, both described the situation of the working women in their countries. They called on the G20 to end the discrimination of women in the economy by closing the gender pay gap, the gender care gap, the gender gap in the quality of work and called on G20 to support the decent work iniative of ILO. 

Lina Ohltmann, Trade Union of chemical workers, IG BCE, described the actual discrimination of women in the labour markets and the root causes which ly in structural inequality in all G20 countries.  She underlined the important role of trade unions  for the equality of women in the workplace.

Professor Christine Färber, Hamburg HAW, underlined the poor societal, public and private environment for economic equality for women and men and underlined the important role of money, public funds and gender budgeting for gender economic empowerment.

Sonja Birnbaum, Plan International, draw the attention to the fact that gender economic empowerment will be only possible if the girl child is given more chances for education, health and food and would be better protected against genital mutilation, child marriage and would be respected in her sexual rights.

 Johanna Eichermüller, Germany, Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) concentrated on equal access of women to infrastructure and ressources from credit to energy, from social infrastructure to infrastructure promoting mobility of women or access to clean water.

Sabine König, German Lawyers Association, presented the fact that no country is without discriminating laws and therefore the reforms of laws are badly needed.


Professor Dr.h.c. -Christa Randzio-Plath, Marie Schlei association, called on G20 to recognize that women s equal participation in the labour market and in economic decision-making are both preconditions for women’s empowerment and consequences of it. Economic empowerment of women is not only right and smart. Women’s economic participation and empowerment are key for strengthening their fundamental rights, enabling them to reach economic independence to exert influence in society and to have control over their lives. To be able to compete on the same terms is a human right since the UN Human Rights` Declaration.

The Second Round with presentations and murmuring groups as interactive tools did not only engage hot discussions about the right gender equality strategies but concentrated on strategies and measures as well as on perspectives. The panel agreed that enhancing women`s economic empowerment means to change current economic models and practices which do not take account of gender-based differences and are not responsive to the issue of closing gender gaps. Strategies for change besides calls also on the G20 governments to implement pro-active gender policies with quota, gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting, equality plans and an improved legal framework but also more active advocating of women` s groups who should be supported.

The Forum learnt about the work of the Gender Working Group and the final declaration C20 2016. The members expressed their deep concern about the gender weakness in the C20-Final -Declaration 2017 which is different to the declarations of Civil society in the last years and invited the President of the CSO working group on gender equality. Davies Okombo was invited to present a gender equality pledge at the plenary of C20 to change the final declaration by gender sensitive positions.  No woman should be left behind and cannot left behind.


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