On June 29-30, 2017 Lovell Corporation’s CEO Kelly Lovell joined current and former heads of state, government officials, academic experts, and business and civil society leaders at the inaugural “Women Fast Forward” Asia Pacific consultation.
Hosted by the East-West Center and sponsored by the global professional services organization EY, the dialogue brought the leaders together to make policy recommendations with examples of G20 good practice around five key aspects of women’s economic empowerment: legislative barriers, women in leadership, financial inclusion, digital inclusion and women in supply chains. Participants in the dialogue included senior representatives from APEC, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization and the Council of Women World Leaders.
The youngest leader in attendance, Lovell brought the Millennial voice to the forefront of the conversations and delivered a keynote panel on the topic of Digital Inclusion, with an emphasis on girls in STEM and women’s entrepreneurship.
“It’s important to not only look at how to alleviate barriers for women currently in the workforce, but how are we encouraging for those who are not yet there to develop that leadership mentality and have the opportunities to pursue the careers they want.” Lovell explains.
Among the Asia Pacific consultation group’s recommendations are measures to:
- Remove discriminatory legislation still on the books in 90 percent of countries – including 15 G20 members – to create a level playing field and enable women to fully contribute to sustainable economic growth.
- Promote financial inclusion for women via National Financial Inclusion strategies, as in Indonesia, and via digital and financial literacy with special attention to consumer protection, as in India.
- Improve access to digital technology for women and girls and encourage girls to study STEM subjects, as in Australia.
- Increase government purchasing from women-owned businesses, as in the U.S. and South Korea. At the dialogue, Elizabeth Vazquez, CEO of WEConnect International, pointed out that women owned businesses receive only around 1 percent of government and corporate contracts, despite being around a third of business owners worldwide.
- Adopt regulations to encourage more female board members on publicly listed companies, as in Australia.
- Include special consideration of indigenous women’s issues in relevant advisory bodies to the G20.
(View the full recommendations communiqué.)
A draft of the recommendations was communicated via Canada’s delegation at the recent G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, and a final version will help inform the W20’s formal input into the 2018 G20 summit in Argentina. The W20, or Women 20, is the official G20 dialogue with NGOs, female entrepreneur associations and scientists pushing forward women’s economic equality, with the goal of reducing the gender employment gap by 25 percent by 2025. (Learn more here.)