G20 reaches consensus on more power to women – New Delhi Declaration challenges countries to walk the talk

New Delhi: G20 India recognized that for policies and strategies to have true impact, involvement of citizens in discussions is important leading

BY | Tuesday, 19 September, 2023

Author Indevar Pandey is Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India

In the landscape of global politics and diplomacy, there are moments that stand as beacons of hope and progress. The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration of 2023 is one such landmark, with the historic commitment towards gender equality and empowerment of women and girls worldwide. Under India’s Presidency, leaders of the G20 agreed to the creation of a Working Group on the empowerment of women to support the G20 Women’s Ministerial. This achievement resonates deeply with the recognition of the importance of gender equality and the pressing need to close gender disparities globally.

The G20, under India’s Presidency, has been inspired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Amritkaal’ vision where ‘Nari Shakti’ (the power of women) is celebrated in all spheres of the economy and society. Building on this vision, India’s G20 Presidency has shifted the focus for the first time from women’s development to ‘Women-led Development.’

For decades, advocates of gender equality have strived to push this critical issue to the forefront of the global agenda. The journey has been long and challenging, with numerous setbacks along the way.  The G20’s unanimous decision to include Gender Equality as a central theme in its 2023 declaration is a testament to the tireless efforts and unwavering commitment of leaders, governments, civil society and stakeholders worldwide.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development brought together women trailblazers, entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, grassroots women leaders and frontline workers, the private sector, civil society, academia, research institutions, defence establishments and also State governments besides delegates and speakers from G20 and guest countries and International Organizations to deliberate on the most pertinent issues facing women worldwide.

The spotlight fell on four priority areas decided by the Ministry, namely Education:  A game changing pathway to women’s empowerment, Women’s Entrepreneurship: A win-win for equity and economy, Creating Partnerships for Promoting Women’s Leadership at all Levels Including at the Grassroots and Women and Girls as Changemakers in Climate Resilience Action. Digital skilling for women’s empowerment was a cross cutting theme across all these priority areas. These areas were discussed and deliberated by the G20 EMPOWER initiative and the W20 engagement group. The key takeaways from these meetings reverberated the firm commitments towards gender equality that was adopted in the Chair’s Statement of the Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment and ultimately found a firm place in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration.

This was no small feat! Consensus building and negotiations with international delegates and other stakeholders was an uphill task. Issues of significance for developing countries often did not resonate equally with developed nations.

It was agreed by delegates that outcomes of health, nutrition, education and entrepreneurship cannot be fulfilled without the inclusion of women grassroots community leaders in the G20 discourse. This was further endorsed by adding a new focus area called ‘Supporting women entrepreneurs and leaders at the local level’ to the legacy of the ‘Best Practices Playbook’.

Digital skilling for women’s empowerment was a cross-cutting theme across all these priority areas. Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to bridging the digital gender divide contributed to the launch of a ground-breaking ‘Tech equity’ platform with a focus on digital skilling for women during the MCWE held from the 2nd – 4th August, 2023. Further, partnerships with G20 countries were forged at the MCWE to expand the reach of digital skilling platform to ensure its sustainability. Available in 120 plus languages, this platform is now open for registrations for girls and women from across G20 nations to undertake digital skilling and upskilling courses to accelerate their career growth.

Another tangible outcome is the Mentorship Platform. This can be reckoned to a global oasis where women mentors from G20 nations share their experience and expertise with mentees to implement a collective vision for empowerment of all women.

Inspirational stories serve as powerful role models by illuminating the path to success through real-life examples. For the first time, under India’s Presidency, the G20 EMPOWER Website has become a stage for 73 inspiring stories from 9 countries documenting remarkable journeys of women who have triumphed across G20 nations.

The Indian G20 Presidency recognised that for policies and strategies to have a true impact, the involvement of citizens in discussions is important leading to the infusion of the spirit of ‘Janbhagidari’ into the G20 discourse. The Ministry of Women & Child Development through the initiative and engagement groups successfully involved over 300,000 citizens through events ranging from walkathons to flash mobs highlighting Women-led Development. The Ministry organised exhibitions at the various international conferences to provide a platform for local women artisans, crafts persons and women entrepreneurs to showcase their products and skills making India’s G20 Presidency a truly people’s event.

The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration of 2023 is not only a beacon of hope, but also a call to action. It challenges countries to move beyond rhetoric and take meaningful steps towards gender equality.

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