Brazil's G20 Presidency Focus Pay Equity, Gender, and Climate Justice
In an interview to the G20 Brazil website, Cida Goncalves highlighted the existing challenges to global gender equality and the steps Brazil aims to take under its presidency.
The G20 Working Group on Empowerment of Women was created in 2023 under India's presidency last year.
Goncalves has a history of activism in popular movements and is a specialist in gender issues, notably violence against women.
She considers the fight for equality to be one of the Brazilian presidency's priorities for the recently created WG--and Brazil's Equal Pay Law, enacted in 2023 by President Lula, illustrates this, the G20 Brazil website read.
"The law is a civilizational landmark and cannot be considered merely a women's issue; it's an issue that pertains to society as a whole, an economic issue," she said.
The World Bank's Women, Business and the Law 2023 report also corroborates Goncalves' statement.
Worldwide, eliminating gender inequality in the labour market could increase GDP per capita by almost 20 per cent, on average, across countries. Globally, around 2.4 billion women of working age do not have the same rights as men, according to the report--which also shows that nations harbouring laws that ensure equal rights have developed economies and a high quality of life, according to the G20 Brazil website.
She also spoke about other Working Group priorities during G20 discussions: the importance of building consensus; the care economy; and the perspective of gender within the debate on climate justice and global warming.
Goncalves stressed that equal pay for women, confronting 'misogyny' and climate justice are the core priorities of Brazil's G20 priorities.
"We have three priority issues and one of them is equality, which involves equal pay for men and women, and care policy. How are countries advancing to ensure that women are working fewer hours?" Goncalves said.
She said, "The second agenda is confronting misogyny, hatred against women--and also discrimination, prejudice and confronting all forms of violence, including feminicide. The third agenda is climate justice. Women are the ones who suffer most because of natural disasters, although they are the ones who preserve the environment the most".
The Brazilian Minister also laid focus on building consensus at this year's summit amid multiple differences and controversies across countries.
"I hope we can achieve something great: building consensus. During the G20 process, we will be working alongside other countries to discuss gender--and we know that there are differences and controversies, but also many things that unite us. So we hope that in November we will have reached specific recommendations, agreed upon by all countries around these three priorities, with a global diagnosis and planning perspective and continuity in the political debate concerning the place of women in the world," she further said.
Speaking on climate justice, Goncalves said that Brazil is working on the issue from an economic, developmental, and sustainability point of view.
"We have been working on climate justice from an economic, developmental, and sustainability standpoint--but we must realize that there is a gender to the sustainability of development. When shacks collapse, when the rains come, women are the ones who suffer alongside their children, the most vulnerable people of all. On the other hand, they are also the ones planting trees, tending the garden, working from the perspective of sustainable development and nature preservation. It is a challenge, but we must include this perspective in G20 discussions," she said.
Goncalves hailed Brazil's 'Equal Pay Act', calling it a "turning point" and a "civilizational milestone" which pertains to the society as a whole as an economic issue.
"This law is a turning point, as was the Maria da Penha Law. There was a Brazil before and another after the Maria da Penha Law. The Equal Pay Law is just that: a civilizational milestone that cannot be considered a women's issue alone: it pertains to society as a whole, it's an economic issue. The GDP improves, the economy improves, companies improve their quality of work, there is a positive impact on professionals," the minister said.
She added, "The challenge is to implement the law in a country this size, with this territoriality. We have already made agreements with several companies, with several industries--and it is a process that needs to be carried out. This discussion will be a challenge at the G20, which at the same time will be a very important and strategic forum concerning this issue. The law addresses autonomy and equality, and we must follow this path. I believe that we will have a Brazil before the Equal Pay Law, and another Brazil after the law's implementation".
The Brazilian Minister called it "unacceptable" that women are earning less than men despite doing the same work, adding that Brazil focusses on discussing the issue with companies, society as well as men.
"It is unacceptable that, in most countries, women earn less than men for doing the same work, and still have to take care of the house, the children, the elderly in the family... This is a discussion that we want to have with companies, with society, with men. We have to bring them into the debate: if women have advanced to public life, men can advance into private life. And it's good that this can happen. This is the path to building a civilizing, humane and fair society," Goncalves further added.
Last year, the G20 summit was held in New Delhi under India's presidency. At the Leader's Summit, the New Delhi Declaration was adopted unanimously with full consensus. The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member was a major takeaway of the summit.
At the conclusion of the summit, PM Modi handed over the gavel to Brazilian President Lula da Silva.