The saying goes that a picture paints a thousand words but, really, the pictures from the annual G20 Summit, held in Japan this year, paint a picture that can be summed up with far fewer than a thousand words. Men in suits, just about covers it.
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) June 29, 2019
There were 38 official participants: 21 world leaders, including two representatives from the EU, eight invited guests and nine heads of international organisations. Of these 38 just 3 were women. Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde.
The absence of women at the summit is not oversight or a photoshop fail. It is a genuine reflection on how few women hold leadership positions.
— Christine Lagarde (@Lagarde) June 27, 2019
The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”. It is considered the “premier forum for international economic cooperation” representing more than 80% of the global GDP.
But representing women remains a bridge too far. Women, who comprise just over 50% of the world’s population, comprise 7.8% of official representatives at this global pow-wow. Next year Theresa May won’t be there and from 2021 neither will Merkel.
How about the sea of suits here in the year 2019? https://t.co/trN41BSxEC
— Georgina Dent (@georgiedent) June 27, 2019
There is no indication, and certainly no guarantee, that they will both be replaced by women so in the year 2021 it is an absolute possibility that there could be one woman out of 38.
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) June 29, 2019
The year 2019 is no different. It is particularly sobering to consider that back in 2014, when the G20 met in Brisbane, increasing women’s workforce participation as a way of achieving gender equality was identified as a specific goal.
Is it any wonder we’ve barely progressed an iota since then when the gender inequality in this group of world leaders is so desperately stark?
Today, I joined Minister Kang for a discussion about the critical role women play in the workforce & the global economy. When women work, economies grow! Looking forward to our work together in advancing the @WhiteHouse’s #WGDP initiative with the Republic of Korea. pic.twitter.com/5lAqVLfKDZ
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 30, 2019
It’s jarring to consider the ‘side event’ that was hosted in Osaka on women’s economic empowerment. Perhaps if it wasn’t a “side event”, but rather a main priority, we might achievement meaningful progress in terms of women’s economic empowerment and the representation of women in positions of power?
The inclusion of Ivanka Trump, the daughter of US President Donald Trump, adds another dimension. Yes, she is another woman present in many of the images, meetings and meals fro Japan. But, no, she’s not an official representative and her presence is highly unusual. It certainly doesn’t reflect a position of power she’s been elected to.
It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification.
It hurts our diplomatic standing when the President phones it in & the world moves on.
The US needs our President working the G20. Bringing a qualified diplomat couldn’t hurt either. https://t.co/KCZMXJ8FD9
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 30, 2019
Sadly the G20 Summit in Osaka serves as another potent reminder why gender equality remains so elusive in 2019.