As the Australian delegate to the G(irls)20 Summit in Sydney this year, I am very excited that the G20 Summit will also be held in Australia in November. I am excited by this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, I am delighted that Australia will welcome some of the world's great leaders to our shores to discuss and debate potential solutions to the most pressing economic issues of our time. I am confident that Australia will provide a safe, well-organized summit with a beautiful backdrop.
However, I am even more excited to have the G20 Summit held in Australia this year because I believe this provides Australia with the opportunity to intensely scrutinize its own role in the world. While Australia, in many respects is a wonderful country to live in, I believe that as a wealthy, prosperous nation, we still have a lot of work to do. As a country, we must ensure that all members of the Australian community are given the opportunity to prosper. Currently, the number of women in positions of power, whether as senior members of corporations or in politics, is astoundingly poor. In order to make balanced, representative decisions and provide the young girls of Australia with role models to look up to, we need to address this gender imbalance within both the private and public sectors.
Despite a recent TrustLaw poll of the G20 countries ranking Australia as the fourth best place to be a woman, instances of sexual violence against women remain at unacceptably high levels. According to the 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey, nearly one in five Australian women are victims of sexual violence at some point in their lives. This is an area, that without question, Australia has the capacity to combat. I believe that it is only when we address our own shortcomings that we can begin to lead others and improve not just our own community, but also the international community.
At the 2014 G20 Summit, global leaders will be addressing issues regarding global economic growth. With approximately a billion women expected to enter the workforce in the next decade, I believe that harnessing the power of women should be at the forefront of the G20 leaders' agenda. It has been widely acknowledged that including women and empowering them to become active members of their nation's economy can significantly increase not only their own living standards, but also global GDP.
This is why I feel that the work of the G(irls)20, an organization established to economically empower girls and women, is crucial if we are to work towards creating an inclusive and economically prosperous global society.
By Anna Wiseman, 2014 G(irls)20 Summit Delegate, representing Australia
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