By Nabila Rahal
Pre G20 discussion says a global recovery cannot be conceived of without women being at the heart of the conversation
The road to economic recovery in a post-coronavirus world will be through including women in all decisions and discussions around the global economic future, according to panellists on a virtual roundtable being held in the run-up to the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia.
Rather than focusing on how women were disproportionately affected by coronavirus - as they make up a big percentage of frontline workers and tend to be employed by industries most hit by the pandemic such as tourism - panellists chose to look at the achievements of women this year, despite everything.
“This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded to two women, the first time ever this happens. It’s a momentum that we need to keep up,” said Chiara Corazza, managing director of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society.
Jennifer A Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California at Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French microbiologist jointly won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October for their development of a revolutionary method for gene-editing.
Since 1901, the Nobel Committee has awarded 112 prizes in chemistry to 186 people. Seven, including Doudna and Charpentier, were women. The award made scientific history as the only science Nobel ever won by two women
Panellists said women are playing a vital role not only in caring for their families and children or at the forefront as healthcare providers but also as global leaders during the pandemic.
“You can see that countries which have women leaders have done better with the fight against coronavirus. This could be because their priorities were different or maybe women have this natural way of caring for people around us,” said Corazza.
“When things are really critical, when the issues are unknown as they are today, women are needed more than ever. This is something positive that has resulted from the crisis and I think it will build momentum,” she added.
Post-coronavirus recovery cannot be conceived of without women being at the heart of the conversation, panellists added.
“I think this G20, at this moment in time, is also a way to show that women in science and economy can make the difference and be a benefit for all of society not only women,” said Corazza.
She said the Women’s Forum refers to the pre-pandemic economic recovery as a “she-covery" with men and women together preparing for a better future.
“We should fix the systems and not the women. The women are ready, are there and have the skill. We just need to fix the system to accommodate and include everyone. It is for the betterment of the whole community when women are equal participants,” said Salma Al-Rashid, Sherpa (organiser) for Women 2020 (W2020) and chief advocacy officer of the Al Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women, a Saudi-based organisation.