In April 2017 Ann-Maree Morrison, Honorary Professor of the Stirling Management School and a member of our Management School Board, was invited to be one of only a few UK delegates to W20 (part of the G20) or Women20-Germany. This is a Forum which has been set up as part of the G20 Nations for the past 3 years for female empowerment with the aim of reducing the gender pay gap by 25% by the year 2025. At the current rate of change without substantial input by the G20 it will take 170 years for a woman to earn the same as a man! The biggest pay gap comes about after maternity leave but if a woman wanted to earn the same as an 18 year old man she would have to start earning an income at the age of 8. Shocking statistics but these are just some presented by think tanks involved in the W20 working groups and summit in Berlin in April.
Ann-Maree is Chairwoman of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Scotland and Vice-President for the UK (see www.bawe-scotland.org) and an entrepreneur, having set up www.labels4kids.com 13 years ago. Her digital skills were put to use on the Digital forum for W20 discussing how we can get women and girls involved in STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and how access to digital can be improved. She also contributed to the labour market inclusion and financial pay gap groups and the finalising of the communiqué report in Berlin and handing this over to the current head of the G20, Dr Angela Merkel.
The event was great networking with many likeminded women and the opportunity to personally hear from Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Christie Freeland of Canada, Ivanka Trump representing the US government, Queen Maxim of the Netherlands and others. Many female large business owners from around the world attended and many of the United Nations, International Trade Centre, Chatham House and other think tanks for the G20 nations. Ann-Maree would encourage women to get involved in STEM subjects and to network in the right groups. Networking can be really beneficial to your career if you know your stuff and then get involved attending high level conferences at your own cost when you are asked. It would have been easy to turn away this opportunity to travel at your own cost to such a summit but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity Ann-Maree says. She has a pile of 100 business cards home with her to link up with! Not only that but Ann-Maree managed to get selfies with both Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde. She could have had one with Ivanka too but decided to back off on that one. She still managed a good photo or two anyway.
The good news from the summit was that Angela Merkel, and all the women involved, are determined that W20 will become a more forceful and larger part of the G20 in future and there will be strong pressure for the G20 to take forward the 3 main findings over coming years and achieve and improve on these. The main 3 findings of the W20 which will be put to the G20 by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hamburg in July are:
- 25 by 25: We need to embed gender equality into the G20 action plan. The G20 have already committed to 25% reduction in gender gap by 2025. We need precise measures for this to monitor progress by Country and we need all G20 politicians to push for action on this.
- Funding: Funding is required to provide finance for women entrepreneurs, whether micro or small, for both developed and developing countries. This is essential for growth, to employ staff, and to provide social protection floors (minimal pay amount to be above the poverty level).
- Digital: A partnership is required to ensure gender equality transformation giving access, training and skills to women on digital. Digital being access to mobile, laptops, desktops, and the skills to use them, whether at home or in public buildings or at work. This is one of the biggest areas of the communiqué and the group that I was involved in the detailed working group for. Women are behind men with digital skills and access in the G20 and beyond.