Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, made an encouraging speech for the W20 delegates of the W20 and hence all the women. She also encouraged all the countries to cooperate with the IMF to design programs and policies that women can benefit in their respective countries.
Kristalina Georgieva started her speech by saying “Sisterhood is powerful!”
She continued “Nothing shows this better than the accomplishments of the W20. You are working towards opening doors for women, so that women can reach the highest levels in politics and business worldwide. She conveyed kind remarks and recognition for Dr Thoraya Obaid and the work of the W20 Saudi Arabia.
“Women’s equality cannot take a back seat during the pandemic, especially not when Covid 19 is disproportionately harming women. Women are bearing the front line during the pandemic.
A quote from the online work of the W20 shows us why. It is a comment from a women worker in China, who says “as a single mum working in a textile factory, I struggled to ensure a safe place for my child, while I am at work.” When we study this statement in layers, we see the challenges women are facing worldwide:
First, women are in risky jobs. About 41% of working women have a job that cannot be done remotely. Many of those women working in the healthcare sector have especially risky jobs.
Second, women have more home and family work. Before the pandemic women had about 2.7 hours per day more unpaid housework. And now it is worse.
Third, women are more likely to be informal workers, especially in developing countries. They generally have low pay and less job security.
The IMF research released earlier this month highlights how women have been harmed more during the pandemic. Please check https://blogs.imf.org/2020/07/21/the-covid-19-gender-gap/
This frustrating picture does not need to be our future. The right policies can help us.
The late Arab feminist writer and sociologist from Morocco, Fatema Mernissi said “A happy woman is one the who can exercise all kinds of her rights like from the right to move, to create, to compete to right to challenge and at the same could be loved for doing so.”
With well-designed government policies, we can help more women gain these rights.
Strengthening leave policies and caregiving support are essential for all countries. These should cover from birth throughout the childhood both during and beyond the pandemic.
We can make the time and place of work more flexible. Direct income support, which more than 153 countries now have provided, is critical. Direct income support to small businesses and self-employed are also critical. And these supports must be distributed equitably.
Countries had success with gender budgeting. Making budget decisions designed to advance women’s equality. For instance, Morocco’s investment in rural water sanitation did exactly this. Since women and girls are the ones who fetch the water, they benefited the most. The policy helped raise girls’ school attendance increase by 20%.
The IMF is here to support our member countries as they pursue policies like this. With our analytical and policy work combined with our detailed knowledge, the IMF is here to help countries design solutions and capacity building like this for the member countries. IMF designs programs help countries implement solutions into their respective country programs. We have provided training to 113 countries on gender budgeting since 2016. And, of course, IMF also provides financial assistance to help countries as they pursue such programs.
With women leaders like all of you, I know, that we can build forward a better world!”…