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G20 Gender Equality Performance in Antalya:
Meagre Action, More Accountability

Research Report by Julia Kulik, Senior Researcher, G20 Research Group
December 3, 2015

For a year, G20 leaders planned to meet in Antalya, Turkey, on November 15-16, 2015, to discuss the three priority agenda pillars of investment, inclusiveness and implementation, which would guide the G20’s fundamental goals of promoting strong, sustainable and balanced growth and making globalization work for all. However, when ISIS gunmen organized a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on the evening of November 13, which killed 130 people, many observers wondered how this shocking and deadly event would affect the agenda when G20 leaders met two days later. The answer came soon. At the end of the two-day summit, G20 leaders released two official documents. One was a stand-alone one-page statement on the fight against terrorism, which included a condemnation of the attacks on Paris as well as the bombing in Ankara that killed 102 people in early October. The other was the G20 leaders’ main 13-page communiqué. It left much to desired in terms of substance and hard-line commitments on key issues such as the refugee crisis and climate change.

One major failure of the 2015 G20 summit in Antalya was the lack of attention it paid to gender equality and the inadequate progress it made, despite the summit’s overall emphasis on inclusive growth and implementation.

The G20’s Gender Gap at Antalya

There was much anticipation leading up the Antalya Summit about what the G20 would do for gender equality. The issue fits very well within the three “I” pillars of the Turkish presidency. It was one that was given particular attention this year with the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls. Significant G20 attention seemed very likely given the establishment of the Women 20 (W20) under the Turkish presidency. The W20 held its first summit on October 16-17 a month before the leaders’ summit. Yet, the Antalya Summit proved to be a major disappointment for gender equality and for those hoping the G20 would act on its word to provide inclusive growth, dependent on providing economic opportunities for women, and to implement its prior commitments, notably the commitment it made at Brisbane in 2014 to reduce the gap in labour force participation between men and women by 25% by 2025.

In Antalya’s final communiqué, references to gender equality and related terms were included in only three paragraphs (see Appendix A). The first was a paragraph that addressed unemployment, underemployment and the informal job market. Here, G20 leaders newly committed to reducing the share of young people most at risk of being left behind in the labour market by 15% by 2025. They also committed to the continued monitoring of their goal to reduce the gender participation gap. In terms of accountability, however, they failed to reinforce the timeline they had agreed to at their 2014 Brisbane Summit, by offering a midterm target to achieve this goal or reporting on any progress made thus far.

The second reference to gender occurred in a paragraph on food security and agriculture. The G20 leaders committed to paying particular attention to the needs of rural women. Finally, in the very last paragraph of the communiqué, G20 leaders welcomed the establishment of the W20. The 2015 G20 communiqué thus offered almost nothing new for women or for gender equality, even less than previous years, despite the push for more action on gender equality from other international organizations, the G7 summit at Elmau, Germany, in June, civil society led by the new W20, and other parts of the G20 itself throughout the year (Kulik 2015).

The W20

Expectations for achieving progress on gender equality at the Antalya Summit was high, given the establishment of the W20 summit a month before. This W20 summit produced a five-page communiqué with 10 recommendations to G20 leaders to achieve gender equality and women’s economic empowerment (see Appendix B). The Antalya communiqué, however, largely ignored the W20 recommendations. There are some parallels in recommendation eight to “promote women’s leadership in creating sustainable consumption patterns and green growth” to the G20’s statement about rural women. But the G20 made no mention of programs that support and enhance women-owned enterprises and businesses in the green growth sector. G20 leaders made a broad statement about how social policies contribute to reducing inequalities. But they paid no attention to delivering adequate social protection for women who are overrepresented in informal and precarious employment. Furthermore, they did not address the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women, which could be ameliorated through more informed and comprehensive social policies.

G20 Accountability for Advancing Gender Equality

An examination of the G20 documents referenced in the final communiqué reveals that the G20 has created tools for improving the implementation and monitoring of certain gender-related commitments. One document listed is the Country Self-reporting Template on Implementation of G20 National Employment Plans. The first section of the template is used to report on annual labour and employment indictor data, using 2013 as the baseline year. Among other things, this information includes data on G20 members’ female participation rate. The second section is used to report key policy indicators such as the percentage of the population living under the national poverty line, the percentage of workers covered by collective bargaining and school completion rate. The third section is a checklist for the implementation status of policy commitments within the employment plan. In the fourth section countries choose three different policy commitments and report on what has been accomplished and what kinds of challenges are associated with their implementation, in order to encourage shared experiences and mutual learning. In the fifth section members report on multi-year commitments, including the one on closing the gender gap. The final section is for members to list any new or additional policy measures that will be used and new or additional challenges they have faced during implementation. ¬†Also included in the template is space for the International Labour Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank to report on the gender gaps in labour market outcomes and opportunities. This section requires data on time spent in unpaid care work and the amount of paid leave available for mothers and fathers, two major barriers to achieving gender equality in all G20 members.

If completed and published, these documents can provide the information needed to track individual members’ progress annually, share best practices and improve transparency. They would provide clarity for another report released at the Antalya Summit — the 2015 Accountability Assessment Report. It reports that 50% of key commitments in the employment issue area have been completed. These include improving female labour force participation rates in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Beyond this statement, however, no more information is provided, nor are any kind of data. This brief and vague declaration implies that these countries have fully complied with the Brisbane commitment in the first year since it was made. When compared to the independent accountability report produced by the G20 Research Group ahead of the Antalya Summit, some differences are evident (G20 Research Group 2015). According to its scoring metric, the G20 Research Group awards full compliance to those countries that have “taken strong or/and sufficient actions to increase women’s participation in the labour force” and published publicly available data on recent female labour force participation rates. Under these guidelines, China, France and Russia have fully complied, along with Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the UK and the US, but not Turkey. Without any specific data or explanation of how the G20 has concluded that its members had complied fully, it is difficult to determine why there are discrepancies between the two reports.

A third document worthy of closer examination is the G20 and Low Income Developing Countries Framework. It outlines the challenges for low-income developing countries (LIDCs) in particular issue areas and what recent efforts the G20 has made to address them. The document suggests that the G20 has several strategies and frameworks that LIDCs can use to address gender gaps in their countries. Although it fails to outline any new action from G20 members, it does offer some useful best practices. It concludes by stating that the G20 should further align its development agenda with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This helps eliminate overlap and build consistency and cohesion among both institutions’ policies. It allows the UN to take the lead on the global goal to achieve gender equality and embraces a much more comprehensive approach than the G20’s own.

Conclusion

Beneath the surface of its public final communiqué, the G20 has nonetheless made some progress on implementing mechanisms to monitor its Brisbane 25-by-25 commitment, in the form of the self-reporting template. However, beyond a general statement about specific members making progress there is little to show for what has actually been done since the commitment was made. The communiqué does not outline the policies those members have implemented in order to achieve the “completed” status. In a major year for gender equality, with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN’s 2030 Agenda, the G20 failed to produce any new commitments or provide any statistical evidence to support its claim. However, it seems dedicated to monitoring progress in years to come, if its members utilize the framework provided at Antalya. In aligning its development agenda with 2030 Agenda, the G20 is allowing the UN to take the lead, which, in terms of gender equality, is the right course of action. The UN has provided a much more comprehensive approach to achieving gender equality world-wide, though SDG 5, than the G20 has ever offered. The G20’s decision to leave gender issues almost completely out of the Antalya Summit at such an important time is even more evidence of its inability to lead the fight for gender equality.

References

G20 Research Group (2015), “2014 Brisbane G20 Summit Final Compliance Report,” G20 Research Group. November 12, 2015. Available at http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/compliance/2014brisbane-final.

Kulik, Julia (2015), “Angela Merkel Leads the G7 in Working for Women at Schloss Elmau,” G20 Research Group. June 9, 2015. Available at http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/evaluations/2015elmau/kulik-women.html.

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Appendix A: G20 Leaders’ Conclusions on Gender, 2008–2015

Year

# Words

% Total Words

# Paragraphs

% Total Paragraphs

# Documents

% Total Documents

# Dedicated Documents

2008 Washington

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2009 London

155

2.5

2

1.2

1

33.3

0

2009 Pittsburgh

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2010 Toronto

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2010 Seoul

177

1.1

3

1.5

2

40

0

2011 Cannes

52

0.4

1

0.5

1

33.3

0

2012 Los Cabos

231

1.8

3

1.7

2

50

0

2013 St Petersburg

1,015

3.5

13

2.4

5

45

0

2014 Brisbane

305

3.3

4

1.8

2

40

0

2015 Antalya

403

6.7

3

1.7

1

50

0

Average

234

1.9

2.9

1.1

1.4

29

0

Notes:
Data are drawn from all official English-language documents released by the G20 leaders as a group. Charts are excluded.
“# Words” is the number of gender-related subjects for the summit specified, excluding document titles and references. Words are calculated by paragraph because the paragraph is the unit of analysis.
“% Total Words” refers to the total number of words in all documents for the summit specified.
“# Paragraphs” is the number of paragraphs containing references to gender for the summit specified. Each point is recorded as a separate paragraph.
“% Total Paragraphs” refers to the total number of paragraphs in all documents for the summit specified.
“# Documents” is the number of documents that contain gender subjects and excludes dedicated documents.
“% Total Documents” refers to the total number of documents for the summit specified.
“# Dedicated Documents” is the number of documents for the summit that contain a gender-related subject in the title.

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Appendix B: The Women 20 Ten Recommendations

  1. Address women’s economic empowerment through strengthening linkages between education, employment and entrepreneurship
  2. Support work and life balance by developing and/or improving infrastructural mechanisms for social care (child, elderly, sick and disable care)
  3. Increase the number of women both in public and private sector leadership positions
  4. Ensure women’s access to financial and productive assets as well as to markets
  5. Eliminate workplace discrimination, enforce legal rights and promote equal opportunities
  6. Strengthen women’s economic, social and political networks
  7. Support women-owned enterprises and innovation
  8. Promote women’s leadership in creating sustainable consumption patterns and green growth
  9. Deliver adequate social protection and improve working conditions for women
  10. In order to develop a monitoring framework, based on available data sets and empirical studies, the G20 should develop a scorecard using the following indicators
    1. Labour force participation rates
    2. Professional and technical jobs
    3. Perceived wage gap for similar work
    4. Leadership positions
    5. Unpaid care work
    6. Education level
    7. Financial inclusion
    8. Digital inclusion
    9. Number of care institutions
    10. Number of new business registrations

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