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G20 Conference on Women’s Empowerment 

Elena Bonetti, Italian Minister of Equal Opportunities and Family hosted a first time ever G20 conference for the Ministers of the respective countries of the world who are engaged in gender on August 26, 2021, in Santa Margherita Ligure Italy. 

Elena Bonetti was born in 1974 and she had obtained her PhD degree from University of Milan, where she served as Associate Professor of Mathematical Analysis. Since 2017 she is in politics, since 2019 she is serving as minister and in 2021 she hosted all the ministers. She is a successful example of a STEM graduate. 

Ministers from all over the world included:

From African Union, Chantal Yelo Mutop, Chair African Union
From Argentina, Elizabeth Gomez Alcorta, Minister of Women, Genders and Diversity
From Australia, Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women
From Brazil, Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights 
From Brunei Darussalam, Dato Haji Aminuddin Ihsan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports
From Germany, Julianne Seifert, State Secretary for Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
From European Commission, Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality
From France, Elisabeth Moreno, Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities
From India, Smiriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development
From Indonesia, I Gusti Ayu Bintag Darmawati, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection
From Italy, Maria Edera Spadini, Chamber of Deputies Italy and Emma Bonina, Senator, Italy
From Japan, Marukawa Tamaya, Minister of State for Gender Equality
From Korea, Chung Young-ai, Minister of Gender Equality and Family
From the Netherlands, Ingrid Van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science
From the Russian Federation, Elena Mukhtariaova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection
From Rwanda, Jeannette Bayisenge, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion
From Saudi Arabia, Hala Bin Mazid Al-Tuvaijri, Secretary General of the Saudi Family Affairs Council
From Singapore, Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development 
From South Africa, ME Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
From Spain, Irene Montera Gill, Minister of Equality
From Turkey, Derya Yanık, Minister of Family and Social Services
From UK, Kemi Badenoch, Parliamentary Secretary of State for Inequalities 
From USA, Jenifer Klein, Executive Director of Gender Policy Council 

Distinguished representatives from the World Bank, OECD, ILO, UN Women, UNESCO, G20, B20, L20, W20, G20 Empower, European Space Agency, Women’s Forum, All China Women’s Federation, Bocconi University, Axa Research Lab on Gender Equality, Marissa Bellisario Foundation, Rai Radio 1 and Radio Journal, La Stampa, The European House Ambrosetti, INMUJERES, the National Women’s Institute of Mexico, Women Political Leaders delivered impressive speeches and made contributions. 

The delegations included many impressive women. Chair of AON, Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen from the Dutch delegation was another lady I met with pride.

Indonesian, Singapore and UK Representatives for G20 Empower were adding value to the discussions. Good news was that the G20 EMPOWER Alliance released a Communiqué and soon make Best Practice Playbook available for gender friendly practices to copy with pride all over the world.

My notes from the meeting included the following: As far as Brisbane targets are concerned, the female participation rate to the labor force in G20 Countries is 59.7% where Canada is the best performing country with 75.6% and India is the least performing country with 22.3%. Only 27.2% of the seats in the Parliaments is held by women across the G20 countries. Only about 7% of the counties of the world are currently led by women. Out of every 3 women 1 has access to a management position in the G20 countries. Across all G20 countries only 14.3% graduates come from STEM fields.

Gabriela Ramos from UNESCO said that this meeting can be repeated annually together with finance ministers’ meetings in the G20. 

Head of W20 delegations making contribution were Anne Ravanona the W20 representative of the EU W20 delegation, Jessica Widjaja representative of W20 Indonesian delegation as well as the W20 Chair Linda Laura Sabbadini together with the Italian W20 Sherpa Martina Rogato and the head of Italian delegation Elvira Marasco. They were the heroes behind the scenes.

Almost everybody talked about Afghanistan and Italian Minister Elena Bonetti put an end about Afghanistan by saying that “we cannot look away and we do not want to”.

I felt quite honored to witness this event organized by the G20 Italian presidency of Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Minister Elena Bonetti. The Italian G20 presidency wrote history for the global cooperation to get women one step forward in the G20. 

When we were trying to establish the W20 in 2015, one gentleman approached me and said why would you need the W20? There is UN Women for gender advocacy, and you can go there join their efforts, you are probably not aware of it. I answered him by saying that said it has been many years since I have been aware of this UN organization and willingly participated in their efforts, but we still need to build other fronts to go forward. This event appeared to be one of the other steps to build other fronts to go forward together in order to get squeeze the prediction of World Economic Forum that claims, at the current pace, gender parity will not be attained for over 135 years (GGGR, 2021). We need to step up. 

Dr. Gulden Turktan
August 29, 2021

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