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G20 launches W20 to empower women

W20’s new president Gulden Turktan said it would work as an outreach group and seek to promote gender inclusiveness in economic growth.

The world’s 20 leading economies have launched a new grouping aimed at boosting the role of women in global economic growth.

The W20, a grouping of female leaders was launched on Sunday in the Turkish capital Ankara, where Finance Ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 were meeting for talks on the global economy. The group aims to work toward empowering women and ensuring their participation in economic growth.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said women’s participation was paramount to economic growth and said one of the best indicators for the prosperity of a country was the smile on the face of its women.

Mr. Davutoglu said: “If the women are smiling… you can be sure that their country is happy.”

The Turkish Prime Minister said that history would remember this initiative to launch W20 as an important event and it would be said one day that there would be no economic growth without participation by the women.

“Like we are shoulder to shoulder at home, similar should be the case for economy,” he said while calling for gender inclusiveness in all spheres of life.

“If women are decision makers in families, why this can not be the case outside the homes also,” he said.

W20’s newly appointed president Gulden Turktan said it would work as an outreach group and seek to promote gender inclusiveness in economic growth process by empowering women.

She asked all G20 countries to nominate their members.

The launch event was also addressed by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development secretary-general Angel Gurria, deputy executive director of U.N. Women Lakshmi Puri, International Trade Centre’s executive director Arancha Gonzz, among others.

Sweet promises not enough for women: Lagarde

Ms. Lagarde said words are not enough for women and delivery of all promises must be verified.

Ms. Lagarde said even IMF did not exactly have any major focus on women-related issues earlier but it had to study it after it understood the importance.

“The next step that we will take now is that we will operationalise it. Whenever we go to a country to start a new programme, we will pay special attention to… the women in that country,” she said.

Ms. Lagarde said, “It is just no brainer that empowerment of women boosts economic growth, it raises per capita income and it helps reduce inequality.”

Giving her own example, she said, “I have been in politics and a leader. I have been in private sector and a leader. I am at a big international organisation and a leader“.

Ms. Lagarde, however, urged women leaders from across the world who gathered here for the launch of W20 group to verify the delivery of all promises that are made to them.

“Words are not enough. Beware of big words. What is required is verification of implementation process because there can be sweet promises that are not fulfilled. You must verify whenever you are promised something,” she added.

Ms. Lagarde said that education is the key driver for women empowerment.

She also pitched for removing all kinds of discrimination including in remuneration for women workers. IMF would also make a strong pitch at United Nations for ensuring financial inclusion across the world, Ms. Lagarde added.

On a lighter note, she quoted her friend and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to say that the women must be “together” and “there should be a special place in hell for those women who do not help other women”.


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