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1st Meeting of the Employment Working Group

The discussion mainly focused on two priorities: gender equality in the world of work and social protection.

February 24th, 2021

1st Meeting of the Employment Working Group

The first Employment Working Group meeting under the Italian G20 Presidency was hosted virtually at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, on February 15th – 17th. The meeting was attended by delegates from all G20 partners, as well as representatives from regional organizations.

The session was chaired by Mr. Carmelo Barbarello, Diplomatic Advisor of Italy’s Labour and Employment Minister. The three-day meeting gave G20 members the chance to exchange views on two of the priority areas identified by the Italian Presidency of the Working Group: gender equality in the world of work, with the commitment of the G20 to encourage broader participation of women in the workforce and their effective inclusion in the economy; and the issue of social protection, paying particular attention to the need to adapt national systems to the challenges brought about by the changes taking place in the global economy and in our societies.

Representatives of the G20 Entrepreneurship Centre and relevant international organizations also participated in the meeting, providing inputs and technical insight. G20 delegates were therefore able to benefit from the latest analysis on the issues at hand carried out by ILO, OECD, the World Bank and ISSA. Finally, representatives from social partners and civil society – namely the Labour20, Business20, Youth20 and Women20 – were invited to provide their view on the discussed challenges.

The exchange of good practices and the presentation of measures adopted by the G20 governments on the two priorities highlighted the importance of promoting coordinated action to tackle the increased inequalities in the labour market following the ongoing pandemic. In this regard, G20 members stressed the importance of adopting a holistic approach to gender equality, coupling the adoption of measures aimed at increasing female participation in the workforce, with actions to promote greater quality of female employment such as: ensuring equal pay for equal work, reducing the gender wage gap, promoting women’s access to leadership positions and equitable redistribution of domestic unpaid work between men and women.

Participants also recognized that some categories of workers have been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic, thus stressing the importance of strengthening the current social protection systems not only to reduce those socioeconomic inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19, but also to ensure that the ongoing transitions in the world of work (such as the digital and green transitions), as well as the economic recovery from the pandemic, remain inclusive and sustainable.