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Why post-covid recovery needs women Empowerment, financing and rights

    • Meeting in digital format
    • 13 September 2021

          Post-covid recovery needs women. Women’s empowerment is pivotal to tapping our society’s potential and meeting the challenges of the coming years. The digital revolution and the ecological transition are processes poised to stimulate the raising of a new development model above the wreckage the pandemic will have left behind. The need to draft new paradigms is precisely what makes diversity and broader vision at all levels, starting with decision makers, fundamental.

          Research show that despite expanding awareness the issue of women’s participation in the work world, even among the wealthiest nations, has yet to be fully confronted. According to the data of recent decades, women’s contribution to annual economic growth in northern Europe, where their percentage in the workplace is relatively high, falls between 10 and 20%.

          While increasing the number of women in the workforce is crucial, other areas in need of attention include quality of work and wage differentials. Much more could be done at legislative and social welfare levels to support women’s career paths. Critical concerns include improving childcare services, strengthening measures on behalf of gender equality (e.g. paternity leave), facilitating access to teleworking and increasing opportunities to balance work and personal life. This process is going to need frontline support at the levels of both social advocacy and the business world, with a clear commitment to introducing full salary transparency.

          Education too calls for special attention, with a particularly strong focus on STEM skills. Nevertheless, the importance of completing the transition to the job market – a delicate phase during which talent risks going to waste – must not be underestimated. In other words, change must not trickle down from above but be firmly rooted in the society.

          For that reason, the Italian G20 presidency should push a global agenda that not only fosters collaboration among governments, but also activates civil society processes aimed at women’s full empowerment. The point of departure in this effort could be the deep structural reforms on which European recovery funds are contingent. Indeed, the issue is not solely economic growth – diversity is also decisive to establishing institutional legitimacy at a particularly critical moment for democratic representation around the world.

          That awareness and public debate on the topic of women’s empowerment is intensifying is a sign of optimism and hope. Nevertheless, if strong political determination fails to galvanize civil societies across the globe, the goal will remain beyond reach.

          The pandemic has provided an opportunity to change things. Women have paid dearly in terms of lost employment and increased care burden, not to mention the spike in domestic violence. Yet as the sturdy backbone of so many community-based services, they have managed to weave a fabric of resistance and resilience on which to base a new, more inclusive societal model. They are capable of supporting talent and of encouraging contributions from men and women in efforts towards development and prosperity for all.

          Why post-covid recovery needs women Empowerment, financing and rights