Press Releases

G20: Women’s rights are not a political bargaining tool


[NEW YORK, NY] - On the occasion of the G20 Summit on June 8 and 9th, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, the Global Justice Center renews its calls to world leaders to uphold international law safeguarding the rights of women and girls.

One of the priorities of the G20 Summit is “Empowering Women” and yet, among the G20 nations, inequality and massive human rights violations against women persist. In the United States, women’s reproductive rights have recently come after renewed attacks with President Trump reinstating and expanding the Global Gag Rule. In Saudi Arabia, women still are required a male guardian to participate in everyday life, despite strong calls to end this discrimination.

“Women’s empowerment must not become a political bargaining tool,” warns GJC’s EU and UN Director, Stephanie Johanssen. “We saw this happen at recent visits to Saudi Arabia by the German chancellor and the US president, a country notorious for its abysmal women’s rights record and a G20 Member. Women’s empowerment is a popular agenda item but quickly turns into a PR tool to justify trade and arms deal with oppressive regimes. There is very little incentive for these regimes to change the status quo if their human rights violations have no consequences. Local women’s rights need sustainable, genuine support, not just be used as photo ops for politicians.”

Globally, women’s political participation remains low, even in developed nations. While the number of women leaders worldwide has grown, female heads of state still represent fewer than 10% of 193 UN member states according to the Pew Research Center. Of the nineteen nations and the EU (G20) represented at the summit, only two, Germany and the United Kingdom, are being represented by women.

“There are tangible real world benefits to increasing women’s political participation,” says Johanssen. “Particularly if we are to end the world’s conflicts causing millions to flee their homes, women’s representation has been shown to make peace more sustainable. Women are also more likely to advocate measures in the areas of childcare, education, welfare, the environment—and, fittingly, health and reproduction. If we want change, we need gender equality at every level.”

For more information contact:

Stephanie Olszewski (New York), Global Justice Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +1.212.725.6530 ext. 211

Tags: Gender Equality, Press Release