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19 April 2015

Turkey builds support for W20 group for businesswomen

g20During its G20 presidency term in 2015, Turkey wants to give an official form to the W20 group to globally increase the role of women in the business world.

Turkey is building support among businesswomen to form their own Woman 20 or W20 group under G20 to globally increase the role of women in the business world.

During its G20 presidency term in 2015, Turkey wants to give an official form to W20 group, which will be similar to the existing B20 group.

“The issue of increasing the participation rate of women labor force is top priority for Turkey and many other countries,” Nilufer Bulut, head of Turkish Businesswomen’s Association, told the Anadolu Agency Friday. “The fact is that the problems faced by women in business life as well as social life are generally similar in each country.

“To eliminate discriminations against women, such as their inability to take part in the decision-making process, hindrances to becoming top executive members and equal pay issues, a common struggle must be waged,” Bulut said.

She said that the sensitivity of international organizations towards the discriminations suffered by women in politics and social life was not enough. “They should take an initiative and play an active role in it,” she added.

She termed the move to form W20 as very important. “I believe the establishment of such an organization, under the roof of G20 aimed at raising the status of women in all areas of life, will have practical outcomes. Recent statistics indicate that Turkey ranks 16th among G20 members in women participation of its workforce.

“Turkey usually ranks at the bottom rows among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) members in women employment. This should be counted as the main gauge to show that Turkey should attach more importance to place women in business life and work more on the subject. Furthermore, informal employment is common among working women. Setting up W20 initiative as an organization to monitor these issues under Turkey’s G20 term presidency is heart-warming,” Bulut added.

– ‘G20 to set example for all’

Gulden Turktan, head of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey, said Friday that if such an initiative was implemented by G20 countries, it would be seen as an example for all countries to follow.

“The establishment of W20 is important in the sense of fulfilling expectation of G20 countries and it will be even an example for the world,” she said.

Even in G20 countries, which consists of 20 major economies of the world, men were able to find jobs much more easily compared to women and women could not take part in business life as much as they should, Turktan said.

She added that many research studies prove that participation of women in business life profoundly contributed to the development of country.

“The increasing rates of women contributes to the work force and minimizes the gender gap in the labor force to help countries cope with their financial crises,” she said.

– ‘Limited executive positions’

Head of Ankara Young Businesspeople Association Fatma Semiz said Friday that they were very pleased with the W20 initiative and predicted that it would be a huge success.

Semiz pointed out that representation of women in executive positions had been limited in many European countries despite the fact that the workforce participation of women in those countries was much higher than Turkey.

“The increase in representation of women in business life will contribute to economies of the countries. If obstacles to women employment are eliminated and women are provided a level-playing field, social and economic situations will see improvement. Such a work has our full support,” she said.

Serpil Polat, head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey Women Entrepreneurs Executive Committee, said that the W20 initiative would be critical to bringing in more women into the workforce and boost economic growth.

“We support the W20 initiative which aims to boost women’s role in business world,” Polat said.

– Bridging the gender gap

Turkey, which has one of the biggest gaps between male and female workforce participation rates among G20 countries, hopes to find common ground among G20 nations to push the idea forward.

G20 is already committed to reduce the gender gap by 25 percent by 2025 and add billions of U.S. dollars to economic growth as well as tackling inequality. Across the G20 nations, it could bring an extra 100 million women into G20 labor markets.

For Turkey, the commitment would mean the creation of an additional few million jobs for women and lifting the numbers of women participation in the workforce from 30.8 per cent of adult women to 40 percent.

There are also very few women in top management in Turkey, only 12.2 percent, according to recent statistics from the Geneva-based International Labor Office. Turkey is ranked 45 out of 48 countries in the office’s research for the percentage of women in high-level corporate positions, below Thailand and above Ukraine.

– ‘B20 to close the gap’

Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, a key figure responsible for Turkey’s G20 presidency, said recently that a separate W20 operating under G20 would be very helpful to close the gender gap.

Babacan said at the G20 Sherpa Meeting in Istanbul that W20 would focus to improve the role of women in business.

“Recently, we have received an offer to have also a W20, meaning Woman 20 structure. The idea is how to increase the role of women in business, how to make women more effective in business. It’s very important for us to hear your views…As the government, we are willing to do it, but it will be possible only if there is a strong support throughout the G20 platform,” he said.

He also said that G20 countries should work with non-G20 countries on this important issue.  “Ultimately, this is important in terms of employment and bringing about stronger development of global economy. As women join the workforce, a country’s efficiency ultimately increases. We want W20 to start as the innovation of our presidency and become a memorable aspect of G20,” he added.

The G20 is a grouping of the world’s largest economies accounting for around 90 percent of global Gross Domestic Product, two-thirds of the world’s population and 80 percent of international trade.

It is a key group for tackling the world’s economic challenges, such as unemployment and income inequality, and is responsible for continuing to direct the global economy as it emerges from the recent financial crisis.

B20 or the Business 20 is the business branch of G20.

Turkey assumed the G20 presidency last December, vowing to fight global inequality. Around 13,000 people, including a number of world leaders, are expected to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held in Turkey’s southwestern coastal province of Antalya in November 2015, according to Turkish officials.

The G20 summit, which is a forum of world’s richest nations, brings together political and economic leaders from 20 major economies, including 19 individual countries — Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States — and the European Union.

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