Ms. Angela Joo-Hyun Kang, Founder and Executive President of Global Competitiveness Empowerment Forum (GCEF) introduced W20 regarding gender issues of G20 and activities of South Korea at the G20 Global Gender Agenda Session of 2019 G20 Korean Civil Society Policy Forum at Foreign Press Club of Korea Press Center on April 25, 2019. Her full presentation script can be found below.
2019 G20 Korean Civil Society Policy Forum was co-hosted by Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC) and Korean Advocates for Global Health (KAGH), attended by Amb. Choi, Kyoung-Lim, South Korean G20 Sherpa, Mr. Masaki Inaba, 2019 Japan C20 Sherpa, Mr. Kurt Frieder, 2018 Argentina C20 Sherpa, and South Korean civil society community.
[Full Script of “G20's Global Agenda of Women” Presentation]
As a transnational women network of G20, W20 is a catalyst bridging a gender gap and a frontier expanding economic opportunities for women with its unique distinction and effectiveness. If collaboration between C20 and W20 could be explored both in the public policies and the corporate policies for enhancing women’s economic empowerment, many synergy effects could be generated.
I. Introduction: W20 as a Global Policy Platform of Gender Agenda
Women 20 (W20) is a transnational network that brings together women leaders of businesses, entrepreneurship ventures, think tanks and civil society. Its main goal is to impact public policies by increasing women's participation in the economies and societies of G20 countries by influencing the agenda of the decision-making bodies of the G20.
W20 is one of official engagement groups of G20, like B20(Business 20), C20(Civil Society 20), L20(Labor 20), Y20(Youth 20), T20(Think Tank 20). Incepted in Australia in 2014, W20 was established for the first time during the Turkish presidency of the G20 in 2015 and its activities continued and expanded in China (2016), Germany (2017), Argentina (2018), and Japan (2019). Though its history has only five years, compared with B20 which was started in 2010 in South Korea, W20 has contributed a lot for advancing gender policies of G20 countries.
The three key topics of W20 are labor, financial, digital inclusion of women, as the common topics of German (2017), Argentine (2018), and Japanese (2019) presidency years. Depending upon a G20 presidency country’s situation, one more new topic is added in each year. (I started to participate in W20 from 2017 German presidency year. Therefore, this article is limited to explain German (2017), Argentine (2018), and Japanese (2019) presidency years.)
Annually, W20 delegates from G20 countries prepares the W20 communiqué, the list of policy recommendations, designed to improve women’s economic empowerment, as a group intelligence work resulting from various international online and offline dialogues spanning several months. Then, they submit to the head of state, the Chair of G20 presidency country, through the W20 Summit. While the W20 communiqué focuses on the contents of policy recommendations, the W20 Summit has eventual characteristics, which include official delivery of the W20 communiqué to the Chair of G20 presidency country and renowned speaker speeches on various gender issues.
Apart from the W20 communiqué, which puts high priority on simplicity and clarity, an annex document is also prepared. It includes more detailed policy recommendations, Key Performance Indicator (KPI), and references etc. The most important purpose of W20 is to reflect contents of the W20 communiqué as much as possible into the G20 communiqué, the list of policy consensus, as the G20 leaders’ declaration and commitment. Therefore, W20’s advocacy efforts to G20 Sherpa are critical.
II. Distinction of W20
W20 focuses on women’s economic empowerment among many gender related issues, emphasizes improvement of corporate and public policies in the corporate and economic environments, and demands for practical actions of G20 countries.
Firstly, W20 has a complementary cooperation relationship with other global gender platforms, not just existing as another platform merely. While the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) influences all gender areas in political, economic, social, and educational dimensions around the world, W20’ main priority is women’s economic empowerment of G20 countries.
Secondly, W20 strives for enhancing women’s economic rights in the global, national, and corporate environments. W20 emphasizes global responsibility of G20 countries on women’s economic empowerment, demands for country responsibility on labor, care, welfare, industrial, public procurement, and governance policies of governments, and calls for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in workplace, marketplace, supply chain, and community development policies of companies.
Finally, W20 has tried to make its policy recommendations as concrete as possible, in order to ensure G20’s actual actions. 2019 W20 Japan communiqué consists of seven key policy recommendations. Apart from three common policy recommendation topics of labor, financial, and digital inclusion in 2017 German and 2018 Argentine presidency years, governance in the public and private sectors was emphasized greatly in 2019 Japanese presidency year. Two additional topics were education and elimination of violence. In addition to these six policy topic recommendations, a more actionable policy recommendation to G20 labor and employment ministers was made by requiring to present a mid-term report on reducing the gender gap in labor force participation by 25 percent by 2015 during the 2020 G20, in order to make the 2014 G20 Brisbane commitment in reality. Actually, this was inserted as the very first recommendation among the total seven policy recommendations in the 2019 W20 Japan communiqué.
In the governance policy recommendation, a differentiated topic in 2019 W20 Japan, it is notable to suggest to G20 leaders that G20 should develop mechanisms to monitor the implementation of G20 commitments on gender equality in collaboration with W20 and report progress on a regular basis. Also, strengthening the mandate and capacity of gender impact assessments was suggested. There were debates regarding the scope of the assessments on legislation, standards, and policies, whether limiting to new ones since there are too many or including existing ones as well. Since South Korea’s practices include specific topic based gender impact assessments, by targeting strategically selected existing laws, the word, ‘new’ was not inserted. I personally appreciate greatly for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family giving its advices.
III. Effectiveness of W20
Considering the significance of G20 in global governance and economy, W20 becomes an important engagement group that draws attention from heads of states, especially, from the Chair of G20 presidency country, who wants its country policy leverage through W20. Also, companies consider W20 as an important corporate policy engagement platform due to importance of women and gender issues.
Firstly, G20 policies can make significant differences not only in G20 countries but also around the world, considering G20’s size of global GDP with more than 90% and international trade beyond 80%. Despite of many differences among G20 countries, finding good practices of gender equality and transferring them within G20 and with non-G20 countries will be able to help many policy level developments for improvement of the global policy agenda of women.
Secondly, W20 helps G20 countries mainstream gender in their public policies, especially to a G20 presidency country. Each year, it selects several priority policy issues as a G20 priority agenda. Since W20 aligns its recommendations with them, in which the head of a state of the G20 presidency country shows high interests, W20 and its policy recommendations can obtain high attention.
In German presidency in 2017, ‘Strengthening of W20 as the core of G20’ was an additional topic, apart from three common topics, labor, financial, and digital inclusion. Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, made three unprecedented appearances in the 2017 W20 Germany Summit in Berlin: the high level plenary panel session, the gala dinner and the official handover ceremony of the W20 communiqué. The Equal Pay Act and the legislation on care center provisions were emphasized as policy improvements for gender equality in her remarks.
In Argentine presidency in 2018, Argentine President, Mauricio Macri made a sustainable food future as one of G20 Argentina’s policy priorities, considering G20 territories account for about 60% of all agricultural land and almost 80% of world trade in food and agricultural commodities. Therefore, W20 Argentina chose ‘Rural Inclusion and Development for Rural Women’ as an additional topic to existing labor, financial, and digital inclusion topics and was able to produce an additional W20 communiqué for rural women with comprehensive policy recommendations on financial, social, technical, educational, and health service provisions.
In order to celebrate the first hosting of the G20 and W20 meetings in South America, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), an inter-governmental organization with 34 member countries of Americas, published a book titled “Warriors - Rural Women Around the World: 28 Enlightened Voices,” to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women, established by the UN. This publication, co-authored by Ms. Susana Balbo, Chair of 2018 W20 Argentina, as well as former and current Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Ministers in mainly Spanish speaking countries, was the IICA’s policy supporting effort for W20 Argentina, rural development and inclusion of rural women.
(I was invited as one of co-authors of the publication, at the Roundtable Meeting of Rural Inclusion of 2018 W20 Argentina on August 3, 2018 in Salta, Argentina, through my intervention during the meeting as W20 South Korean delegate. I contributed my article on South Korean policies for rural women empowerment and importance of inter & intra & global policy coordination among G20 and non-G20 countries. http://ruralwomen.iica.int/section1-AngelaJooHyunKang.html)
In Japanese presidency in 2019, ‘Strengthening Governance for Gender Equity’ was a distinctive topic. 2019 W20 Japan Summit was co-hosted with the 5th World Assembly for Women (WAW) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on March 23-24, 2019. The event had high profiles by inviting the keynote speakers, like Ms. Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who was a former President of Chile, and Ms. Gabriela Michetti, Vice President of Argentina, as well as female foreign ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Commonwealth of Dominica, and Panama. Especially, economic and social impacts of ‘Womanonics’, led by Japanese Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, was highlighted at the 2019 W20 Japan Summit. According to the Japanese Office of Boston Consulting Group, higher female employment has increased Japanese GDP by 3% in 2017.
Four key priorities of 2019 G20 Japan are entrepreneurship, STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), AI(Artificial Intelligence), and aging. Therefore, 2019 W20 Japan communiqué emphasized AI more than ever in its chapeau and digital inclusion topic recommendation. Especially, it called for the urgent measure to promote equal participation of women in the design and development of data sets, models, and algorithms in AI, in order to prevent gender bias.
Finally, from the corporate perspective of CSR, W20 is a good engagement platform of corporate policies both for internal stakeholders for corporate responsibility and external stakeholders for corporate philanthropy and innovation.
There are many gender issues in the corporate environment, especially for diversity and inclusion. 2019 Japan W20 communiqué include the necessity for addressing gender income gaps with further equalizing actions like pension. Mandatory paid parental leave is also reflected, as its encouragement of Lotte Group, a South Korean conglomerate, has been regarded as a frontier corporate leadership practice. Putting more women in leadership positions and publicizing its progress was reflected as well. There were debates on difficulty to push private companies, but by choosing an ‘incentivize’ word, both public and private sectors were included. In South Korea, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family initiated and reached its agreements with ten business associations for improving corporate policies for gender balanced growth in March, 2019. In order to induce actual progress, more incentive measures should be needed by rewarding related actions and outputs.
Global companies like Google utilize W20 as an engagement platform to appeal its corporate responsibility, philanthropy, and innovation efforts for gender equality.
In German presidency in 2017, the award ceremony of #eSkills4Girls Hackathon, a joint international development initiative between Google and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), took place as a part of the 2017 W20 Germany Summit. It is a joint effort with corporate philanthropy and Official Development Assistance (ODA) to empower competitiveness of women and girls in the digital economy by supporting project idea competition winners. At the 2017 W20 Germany Summit, Ms. Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org and the Google Foundation delivered her speeches about Google’s efforts to narrow digital divide of women, with Mr. Thomas Siberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary of BMZ. Google’s global corporate philanthropy activities such as Made with Code, Internet Saathi, Women Techmakers, and SheLeads were showcased at the event hall with its independent promotional booths.
In Argentine presidency in 2018, Google actively supports 2018 W20 Argentina as one of main corporate sponsors, expert content partners by helping the Digital Inclusion topic chair organization, Groupe Spécial Mobile Association (GSMA) and contributing its separate Digital Inclusion communiqué, and a speaker of the 2018 W20 Argentina Summit by introducing its gender equality policies by its corporate marketing executive from Brazil. In Japanese presidency in 2019, Google showcased its ‘Women Will’ initiative in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico to empower digital literacy, entrepreneurship, leadership, and workplace life of women, at the 2019 W20 Japan Summit by preparing a separate event room and promotional booths.
IV. Conclusion: Collaboration between C20 and W20 and a Role of Korean Civil Society
W20 can influence both public and private policies related with women’s economic empowerment significantly, at global level, to G20 countries, and in South Korea. If C20 and W20 at can collaborate together with parallel engagement, for national advancement, and as international development, many synergy effects could be expected for G20’s international dialogue and advancement of global agenda of women.
Firstly, global policy advocacy efforts will be benefited from parallel cooperation between C20 and W20. C20 currently operates ten working groups such as anti-corruption, education, environment/climate/energy, gender, global health, infrastructure, international financial architecture, labor/business & human rights, local2Global, and trade & investment. 2017 German presidency encouraged collaboration among G20, B20, C20, W20, Y20, and T20 by having joint meetings and cross presentations at their summit events. These kinds of collaboration have been deepened in 2018 Argentine presidency, by announcing the joint statement by the B20, C20, and W20 on anti-corruption. 2019 W20 Japanese presidency reflected a long time civil society’s gender agenda, gender quality education and ending online and offline violence of women, into its W20 Japan communiqué, by distinguishing these two as separate policy recommendation topics, not as sub recommendations of four labor, financial, digital, and governance topics.
Secondly, national cooperation between Korean C20 and W20 can be enhanced, like this G20 Korean Civil Society Policy Forum event. In W20, there are some members who are both W20 delegates and B20 members of anti-corruption or small and medium enterprise taskforce groups, or, both W20 delegates and C20 gender working group members.(I was a B20 taskforce member of 2016 Chinese, 2017 German, and 2018 Argentine presidency years.)
Considering W20’s main focus on women’s economic empowerment, women business associations or women-owned or led business entrepreneurs are very active. The policy recommendations requiring more financial or business benefits or affirmative action in public procurement, economic, and legal environments are prevailing. However, it is possible to find the areas with mutual interests between C20 and W20, such as capacity building of disadvantaged women for more labor, financial, and digital inclusion and social service improvements on education and health.
The structure of South Korean W20 delegation has changed from its initial composition, mainly with academic and gender policy experts to its current composition, consisting of academic, business, and nonprofit experts. The history of South Korean civil society promoting gender equality is long and players are diverse and very active. In order to transfer good South Korean policies to overseas and do benchmarking good policy cases of other countries, more attention is needed from civil society, gender policy institutes, and women business associations in South Korea.
Finally, international development cooperation between C20 and W20 at global and national level will be helpful for empowering women’s rights in G20 and non- G20 countries.
In German presidency in 2017, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) was launched to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries with the World Bank, led by Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump. The Compact with Africa, one of key policy outcomes of 2017 G20 German presidency, also emphasized bridging the gender gap in Africa by tacking economic and digital divides.
In Argentine presidency in 2018, 2030 Rural Women Global Fund collaborated with UN Women was proposed to provide education and health services to rural women. Though, it was not adopted without obtaining consensus in the W20 work meetings, it could be a meaningful international development initiative for empowering rural women in developing countries in the future.
In Japanese presidency in 2019, the policy recommendation on ending all forms of violence included ‘social media’ emphasis, which is a critical problem in South Korea also. There were debates on the necessity to insert ‘social media’ words, but consensus was made to highlight the emphasis, considering its importance as a serious social issue of the highly digitalized society. Various international development actions can be possible such as anti-social media violence campaigns not only in developed countries but also in developing countries, in addition to existing international development efforts for technical assistance to increase digital literacy for the women who were left out of the digital economy.
If C20 and W20 could collaborate with parallel engagement, at state level, and with international development perspective, many win-win effects could be expected for G20’s international dialogues and policy development to advance global agenda of women. Especially, various joint efforts between C20 and W20 could be explored for enhancing women’s economic empowerment, both in the public policies on international development and the business policies on global corporate philanthropy. Such endeavors will produce many meaningful outcomes in public and private diplomacy through inter and intra G20 country relations as well as with non-G20 countries.
[Biography of Ms. Angela Joo-Hyun Kang]
Ms. Angela Joo-Hyun Kang is Founder and Executive President of Global Competitiveness Empowerment Forum (GCEF), a nonprofit research institute specialized in corporate social responsibility (CSR), based in Seoul, South Korea.
With a mid career master’s degree of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and more than 28 years of experiences in private, public and nonprofit sectors, she has been active to promote CSR, Creating Shared Value (CSV), social innovation, sustainability, and integrity in business and public policies, both in South Korea and globally.
She was an advisor to the Presidential Council of Nation Branding of the South Korean government, a Global CSR Committee member of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), a non-executive CSR advisor to the new integrated Samsung C&T Corporation's CSR committee, a judge of health enhancement category of Asian CSR Awards hosted by Asian Institute of Management in Manila, Philippines, a research associate of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, an OECD Business & Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) Anti-Bribery/Corruption Working Group member, and a taskforce member of Business 20 (B20), an official business engagement group of G20 etc.
She is passionate for women’s economic empowerment. From 2012 to 2014, she was an Asia Pacific jury member of Cartier Women's Initiative Awards, invited by Cartier headquarter in Paris, France. She has participated in policy recommendation processes and summits of Women 20 (W20), an official women engagement group of G20, as a South Korean delegate during 2017 W20 German, 2018 W20 Argentine, and 2019 W20 Japanese presidency years. She is currently the Digital Inclusion Pillar Leader of WAP (W20 Acceleration Platform), initiated by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).
Ms. Kang authored "Global Competitiveness of Innovative Leaders - CSR Strategy and CSV Talent (2015/ Seoul/Starbooks)" and the South Korea section of “The World Guide to Sustainable Enterprise: Asia Pacific Volume (2015/UK/Greenleaf Publishing). She co-authored “The Warriors: Rural Women around the World: 28 Enlightened Voices (2018/Costa Rica/Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture: IICA)”, the South Korea section of “The World Guide to CSR (2010/UK/Greenleaf Publishing)” and “Trends and Strategies of CSR(2010/Seoul/Community Chest of Korea)”.