RIYADH: The G20 finance ministers’ and central bank governors’ meeting in Riyadh recently concluded with a communique that sets an optimistic tone for international action in 2020 for women’s economic empowerment.
The ministerial group, Women 20 (W20), advocates that the inclusion of women in finance is essential for sound and effective economic policies. The group recognizes that gender is a consideration for economic policymaking, stating: “An inclusive approach to growth can better harness untapped economic potential, help address inequality and empower all segments of society, especially women and youth. Therefore, we agree to develop a menu of policy options that countries can draw from to enhance access to opportunities for all.”
This approach should also be applied to infrastructure projects, which are recognized as a driver of economic growth, it said. W20 welcomed this approach, and urged the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and others to build on previous work to apply a gender lens to infrastructure projects and programs in their reports for the G20.
W20 chair, Dr. Thoraya Obaid, said: “The G20 meetings, including the symposium on international taxation which W20 attended this weekend, are an opportunity to ensure that gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions, because the inclusion of women across the G20 States is smart economics and sound financial policy, resulting in concrete economic gains for all.”
The communique anticipates new reports this year looking at the procurement processes, and the advance of the Infrastructure Technology (InfraTech) agenda. The W20 is committed to providing inputs into these reports, including through the expertise of delegates in these fields, especially as W20 advocates for public procurement contracts that promote women-owned and women-led business, and to promote the involvement of women in the research, design and development of InfraTech.
W20 also called for this focus to include care infrastructure as an instrument for women’s economic empowerment. Investment in care infrastructure would boost employment and gender equality by enabling more women to join their national labor markets.
Obaid said: “This is a positive start to the G20 ministerial discussion, with a concrete commitment to develop new policy guidelines on digital financial inclusion for women. Technology offers us a way to close the gender gap and ensure that women can exercise their digital rights, both as users and as producers of digital technology.”
The Kingdom launched its G20 presidency last December. It is the first Arab nation to hold the position and the summit will be held in the capital in November.