Diplomatic representatives, academics and business leaders from across the globe have gathered at ANU to discuss gender equality issues, ahead of the 2014 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane.
The first-of-its-kind forum was organised by ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy academic Dr Susan Harris-Rimmer, with support from Chatham House.
“G20 central bank governors and finance ministers met in Cairns this week to discuss how to reach two per cent growth targets by 2020,” she said.
Dr Harris-Rimmer is firmly of the view the answer could lie in investing in gender equality measures.
“I’m confident we are going to come up with one page of recommendations to give to the G20 sherpas, that is going to help them meet their growth targets,” she said.
Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, gave the keynote address on Wednesday.
Speakers included ANU PhD economics graduate Dr Jeni Klugman, now a Senior Advisor at the World Bank in Washington and a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School.
“With the increased interest in gender equality around the world, there is a whole range of experimentation and innovation under way,” she said.
In Liberia, progress included a skills based program targeting adolescent girls, enabling a smoother transition from school to the workforce.
Skills taught included traditional vocational skills like craft, as well as metal work, welding and life skills such as reproductive and sexual health.
The program was giving young women the confidence to make better life decisions, Dr Klugman said.
“And that has been shown to have important impacts, not only in terms of income, but also in terms of expanding their horizons.”
The 2014 G20 Leaders Summit will be held on 15 and 16 November.