On 24-26 May 2016, the Chinese government will host Women-20 (W20) – a G20 outreach group launched in 2015 to focus on promoting gender-inclusive economic growth. W20 aims to harness support to increase women’s participation in the global economy and greater prosperity for the world. As reported by McKinsey, realising gender equality could add an extra $12 billion dollars to global GDP by 2025.
In January this year, the first ever UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment was created bringing together influential leaders from government, business, academia, and civil society, charged with effecting positive and lasting change for women and girls.
This year also marks the launch of Inspiring Women in China, which connects schools and colleges with employers and the world of work. Volunteers, from Apprentices to CEOs, pledge just one hour a year to volunteer to talk to young people about their job and career route. Started in the UK in 2013, the purpose is to raise aspirations and break down gender stereotypes around career choices among even quite young children. Led by the British Council, volunteers are signing up to speak to students across the country.
Patrons of Inspiring Women China include Ms Yang Lan, who runs a major media group and has a network of 200 million followers and the British Ambassador to China, Barbara Woodward, CMG OBE.
HM Ambassador Barbara Woodward said: “The W20 in China provides a unique opportunity to renew our collective commitment to women’s equality and achievement. Supporting the Inspiring Women programme is one avenue through which we can do that. I would encourage people to sign-up and give just one hour of their time to help break down gender stereotypes for young women.”
Clare Pearson, Chair, British Chamber of Commerce in China said: “The W20 is a great opportunity to promote gender inclusive growth, engage the G20 leaders on gender equality, and monitor progress on the target to reduce the labour force gender gap by 25% by 2025. Evidence shows that if women were fully integrated into the economy, economic growth would be increased worldwide. I am keen to support initiatives such as Inspiring Women, which encourage women’s economic empowerment and break down stereotypes of women’s roles”
The British Council has been working to build trust and understanding for over 36 years in China, and over 80 years globally; and Inspiring Women China is the UK’s foremost programme for women and girls.
The time for action
On the occasion of the W20 gathering in Xi’an, and China’s G20 Presidency, British Council China, Inspiring Women China the charity Education and Employers are calling on the G20 nations and civil society to:
- Renew political will and commitment to women’s economic empowerment;
- Revitalise public debate on equality;
- Raise awareness of the key issues;
- Strengthen evidence-based knowledge sharing; and
- Enhance resources to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.
We would like on the occasion of the W20 to highlight this work and to recruit more volunteers to Inspiring Women, to the important cause of overcoming obstacles to gender equality, and to empowering women’s economic futures. Email: InspiringWomen@britishcouncil.org.cn to register