A Russian delegation led by Russia’s Women 20 (W20) sherpa Victoria Panova took part in an official W20 meeting on 22 December 2021 that was timed to coincide with the start of work by specialized women’s rights groups as part of Indonesia’s presidency in the G20. The event, which was held via video conference, was organized by the Indonesian Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, the Indonesian Women’s Congress, the Indonesian Business Women’s Association, and XL Axiata and aims to reaffirm Indonesia’s commitment to women during its G20 presidency.
The meeting was opened by Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia, Her Excellency Ms. Bintang Puspayoga. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Her Excellency Ms. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, highlighted the crucial role of diplomacy in promoting gender equality throughout the world in her speech.
The meeting participants discussed a wide range of issues, including ways to ensure equality, safety, and wellbeing for all by eliminating discrimination in politics. They also noted the importance of ensuring economic inclusion by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are owned and operated by women, empowering women and girls, including those with disabilities, in rural areas, and expanding women’s involvement in public and political decision-making for the greater good.
The Indonesian W20 co-chairs, Indonesian Congress of Women Chairwoman Ms. Uli Silalahi and XL Axiata CEO Ms. Dian Siswarini, welcomed the meeting participants and announced the priority focuses of the W20 agenda for the next year, which include: healthcare, providing an additional impetus for the empowerment of women and girls, including those with disabilities, in rural areas, supporting MSMEs, and eliminating discrimination in all its forms. The main event of the ‘women’s track’, namely the W20 Summit, should take place in late July next year. Ms. Siswarini said during her speech that “Indonesia will continue to work to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women are taken into account in the G20 discussions and reflected in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration in 2022 as their commitment to the encouragement and further advancement of global gender equality”.
Since the G20 adheres to the principle of the agenda continuity, it is also important for interaction within ‘the three’ (the previous, current, and future presidents). After Indonesia, India will take over the presidency in December 2022. India’s G20 sherpa, Professor Pam Rajput, and India’s G20 Representative Sangita Reddy highlighted the priorities for India’s future G20 presidency. In her speech, Rajput said: “We are pleased to note that the W20 is one of the three priority focuses of the G20’s work.” She also shared her expectations for how Indonesia could further advance the gender parity agenda: “In the post-pandemic era, it is imperative to achieve the 25X25 Brisbane Goal with the caveat of creating decent and safe working conditions. As the next president, India advocates for women to lead development, and as president of the G20 and the BRICS, our country plays a pivotal role in ensuring that women play an equal role in economic recovery and related issues, including the energy sector, through the adoption of gender-responsive policies and funding for gender equality. The W20 and the BRICS are platforms that can consolidate approaches to key issues and develop strategies to address them.”
During the discussion, Panova emphasized that even though women are the ones who have been most affected by the pandemic, the W20 format has proven to be relevant for the development and advancement of both political recommendations to the G20 leaders and practical decisions that have an impact far beyond the G20’s solutions for problems facing women and girls. She also pointed out that the Eurasian Women’s Forum hosted an open session of the W20 both in 2018 and in 2021 and provided an effective platform for coordination and communication between the W20 and other national and international women’s associations in the Greater Eurasia space, thus guaranteeing support for the initiatives of the Indonesian presidency.
All the meeting participants unanimously declared their resolve to ensure fair, inclusive, and sustainable development for all and said they are ready to work together under Indonesia’s leadership this year to meet the boldest expectations for the W20 and women around the world.