By Guest Blogger: Victoria Stetsko (Oxfam GB in Russia)
In October, the Consortium of Women’s Organizations together with Oxfam GB in Russia convened 26 civil society experts, activists and lawyers to discuss how to advance gender issues in the G20 agenda.
While G20 countries achieved significant success in moving forward to curb illicit financial flows and develop measures to manage global financial crisis, up until now it failed to address issues of gender inequality. Taking measures towards gender equality is essential to boost economic growth and develop human capital. In 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico, at an annual Summit, G20 leaders expressed their commitment to addressing barriers to women’s economic and social participation and expanding opportunities for women. But while paying lip service to inclusive growth, G20 leaders failed to address the deep inequalities that women face at the labour market, in access to services and in political participation.
Against this backdrop, workshop participants discussed the importance of women’s CSOs and civil society at large to engage with global decision-making platforms on gender issues. They agreed that G20 discriminates against women by treating them purely as subjects of economic activity, not taking into account existing barriers within labour market, lack of financial awareness of women and prevalence of unpaid labour. Russian civil society is eager to have its say in promoting a “gender agenda” within G20. As an outcome of the meeting, participants elaborated a set of recommendations to the Russian G20 Sherpa to promote that included the adoption of gender-sensitive policies and place women at the heart of sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Recommendations focused on the advancement of women’s participation in economic activities and decision-making processes, and included removal of the glass ceiling and other barriers to women’s participation in the labour force, promotion of flexible working patterns as well as removing barriers in access to public services among others.