Jakarta, 29 March 2022. Acceleration in creating a safe work environment for women is one of the priority issues discussed in the Group of Twenty (G20) EMPOWER of the Indonesian Presidency. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted from the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA) meeting and the 2014 Brisbane Goals. To discuss this issue, G20 Empower held a 1st Side Event with the theme "Creating Safer Workplace for Women Post Covid -19 Pandemic”, Tuesday (29/3).
The Minister of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, Ida Fauziyah stated that this activity is the right momentum to discuss, share, and provide input in order to create a safer and better work environment for women, especially during the pandemic and digital disruption that puts women at higher risk to low wages from work in the informal sector with non-standard forms of work that are risky and unsafe.
Regarding this issue, said Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah, the Indonesian government continues to encourage the G20 to improve equality and empower women throughout the world through various progressive interventions to reduce the gap in women's participation in the world of work.
"Indonesia believes that by advancing gender equality, it will encourage inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially for the development of the G20 economy," said Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah.
On the same occasion, the Deputy for Gender Equality at the PPPA Ministry, Lenny N. Rosalin, said in a side event opening speech that in addition to the burden of parenting, violence also increased many times during the pandemic. Lenny cites global data showing that cases of violence have increased by 31 million cases in the first 6 months of the pandemic and continue to increase to 15 million cases per every 3 months thereafter.
“This is a common challenge considering that female labor force participation was at a low level, even before the pandemic. Global data shows that female TPAK is at an average of 47%, far below that of men, which is at 72%," explained Lenny.
Furthermore, Lenny added that violence occurred massively in the workplace during the pandemic, both for women who worked offline and online. Perpetrators of violence can come from consumers and service users who feel uncomfortable due to disrupted services due to the pandemic. Violence is also rampant by superiors and co-workers.
“Discussions at this meeting must find practical and implementable solutions for how we build working situations and conditions that support women. This is important so that this issue can be included in the G20 Summit output document, can be adopted by all participating countries and most importantly, can be applied to companies and industries”.
At the hybrid meeting, performing as the speakers, Shinta Kamdani as Advocate G20 Empower - B20 Indonesia Chairwoman and CEO of Sintesa Group, Barbara Cominelli as Advocate G20 Empower – Italy from JLL Italy, Willy Saelan as Advocate G20 Empower Indonesia from PT. Unilever Indonesia Tbk, and Romilly Madew as the G20 Empower Delegate Australia from Infrastructure Australia.
Then in the second session, there were Anke Jenckel as Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Germany, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya as Ak Party – Istanbul Deputy, Anwar Sanusi as WG Employment Indonesia, and Aditi Das Rout as Joint Secretary from Ministry of Women and Child Development of India. More than 100 participants attended from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, China, Germany, UK, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Italy, Indonesia, France, Russia , plus the European Union.
Meanwhile, in her speech, the Co-Chair of EMPOWER G20, Rinawati Prihatiningsih explained that the entire discussion session this time aimed to further discuss how the government navigates challenges and opportunities to improve overall policies and regulations on women's empowerment by creating safer places to work especially after the global pandemic. This discussion also aims to identify how the G20 EMPOWER member countries can support and engage directly collaboratively, both between the private sector and the government to support gender empowerment in the work environment, especially among women workers.
In the first session, it was discussed about the gaps related to indications of gender equality which worsened during the global pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant implications for women, especially in the work environment. According to a report from the ILO in 2021, during a pandemic, women face more significant difficulties, one of which is a higher risk of losing their jobs. In addition, there has been an increase in unpaid care work. Worse yet, there is greater exposure to discrimination and violence in the workplace. In this first session, representatives of the private sector from Italy, Indonesia and Australia shared good practices that support women to continue to work safely and comfortably during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During Covid-19 in 2020, around 41% of women were employed in high-risk occupations. The risks referred to here include the impact on job loss to reduced working hours. Meanwhile, the same data states that only 35% of male workers experience the same risk or impact (ILO, 2021). The crisis is also impacting how the state and the private sector can achieve targeted gender equality indicators in the workplace.
In the second session, it discussed the regulations and policies taken by the governments of Germany, Indonesia, Turkey, and India to increase women's empowerment in the workplace during/post-covid-19 pandemic. The identification from the World Economic Forum in 2021 states that it will take 276.6 years to achieve a balance in women's economic participation and opportunities. Therefore, multi-stakeholder collaboration is urgently needed to minimize this gender gap.
The pandemic has further exacerbated the gender gap. This is shown, among other things, from the data that women generally spend 3 hours longer than men in doing household work without pay. This condition then affects the exposure to stress levels and decreases mental health conditions, which then has an impact on the inhibition of women’s economic empowerment increase.
Chair of G20 EMPOWER, Yessie D. Yosetya in her closing statement said, “Today's panel discussion not only opened up challenges but also showed various ways to ensure women can continue to actively participate in their workplaces, both from the private sector and the public sector. We can see together that proactive action from the private sector and the public sector is very important in ensuring women can have a safe workplace during the post-covid-19 pandemic.” Yessie hopes that the participants of the 1st Side Event G20 EMPOWER can be inspired to continue to take real actions to support gender equality.
G20 EMPOWER is one of the initiatives within the G20 presidency that brings together an alliance of private sector and government leaders to jointly advocate and support the advancement of women in leadership positions in the private and public sectors. The Ministry of PPPA together with XL Axiata and IWAPI are the focal points in promoting the importance of women's leadership in the business world through the G20 EMPOWER. Through this alliance Indonesia wants to promote good practices from companies and governments in promoting women's leadership. Indonesia also has advocates from the private sector involved in promoting gender-based leadership roles in companies.