Putting women at the heart of global economic recovery

Studies have shown that closing the gender gap has positive effects on the well-being of society. Research conducted by Women World Banking in 2021 illustrates how economic well-being depends not only on income and infrastructure, but also on gender equality.

However, the G20 – a group of countries representing 85% of the global economy – has yet to focus on addressing the barriers women face to participating in and benefiting from the economy.

For example, of the many G20 meetings, only the one held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014 resulted in a concrete commitment to improving the economic status of women. To date, however, the Brisbane commitment has not been followed by a clear strategy and implementation mechanism.

Indonesia is hosting the G20 summit this year.

Given its role, Indonesia can lead the response of G20 countries to Covid-19 and promote women’s issues on the global political agenda. Indonesia signaled its intention to promote inclusive economic growth by prioritizing the role of women, as well as youth and small businesses.

Solutions from Indonesia

Prioritizing the role of women is the right decision.

UN Women says women are hardest hit by Covid-19 and their incomes also take longer to recover in the long term due to the nature of their work – informal, low-skilled and involving unpaid care work. The decline in gender equality in 2021 indicates that this prediction may have come true. The gap between men’s and women’s economic participation has widened during the pandemic.

With extensive research showing that women’s lives are changing due to Covid-19, world leaders must take priority action to support the immediate response and longer-term recovery efforts for women.

Among all the priority measures, three groups of women should be at the top of the list.

The first group is that of women in micro-enterprises.

Seven out of 10 workers in the world are part of micro-enterprises. Data from 99 countries show that micro-enterprises account for 70% of all jobs.

World Bank data indicates that women own 23% of micro and small businesses, and this figure is increasing every year.

However, women earn less than men for the same type of job. The International Trade Center’s survey of the impact of Covid-19 among businesses in 136 countries showed that women-led micro-enterprises are 27% more likely not to survive the pandemic, which could be caused by multiple unpaid care responsibilities.

The second group is that of women in the informal sector.

More than 62% of jobs in 99 countries are based in the informal sector. The percentage of women in this sector is also very high. For example, more than 80% of women working outside the agricultural sector in South Asia earn their living as informal workers. The situation is similar in sub-Saharan Africa (74%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (54%).

Despite their immense economic contribution, women are often not granted the rights of working women, such as leave, health insurance or workplace safety insurance, as these safety nets often depend on formal participation in the labor market. active population.

Women living in rural areas constitute the third group.

More than three-quarters of the world’s extremely poor live in rural areas.

Data shows that girls and women are more likely to live in poor households in rural areas than boys and men. Poor infrastructure in rural areas, such as access to financial services, makes it harder for women to participate in and benefit from the economy.

Make women the beneficiaries of the global economic recovery

As the global community continues to move forward to achieve inclusive economic growth, it is time for global policies to focus on placing women as beneficiaries, especially when it comes to policies regarding the recovery from Covid- 19.

As host of the G20, Indonesia is well placed to urge world leaders to achieve an inclusive economic recovery. Indonesia can achieve this, for example, by detailing Brisbane’s commitment to a detailed plan and action in the two main political tracks of the G20: the financial track and the Sherpa track. This will be a concrete step towards achieving an inclusive global economic recovery.

Resya KaniaPostgraduate Research Fellow, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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