Biz and Gov for Gender Equality

G20 Empower has set out the next steps to achieve concrete results with regard to professional growth for women and gender equality, and our Paola Mascaro at the forefront.

Sep 2021

Some events can change the course of history (probably not history with a capital H) but the path that any human right must pass through before it can be affirmed. This is the case of G20 EMPOWER , the first Ministerial Conference of the G20 that focuses on the Women’s Empowerment.

Never before, has the issue of gender been so high on the agenda for leaders and advocated a global priority. Ministers from the G20 and guest countries, institutions, businesses, representatives of civil society, education and cooperation met on the 26th of August, in Santa Margherita Ligure (Genoa), under the Italian Presidency, to share proposals and settle a  policy document for the Women’s Empowerment that covers the attainment of objectives and their measurability.

The meeting  was also joined by Paola Mascaro, Executive VP of Communications and Public Affairs of Avio Aero, in her capacity as Chair of the Alliance for Empowerment and Promotion of Women’s Representative in Economy (G20 EMPOWER). This Alliance aims to accelerate the leadership and the empowerment of women in the private sector by leveraging its inclusive and action-oriented vision and its unique partnership model; the G20 EMPOWER, within the G20 system, is in fact the only entity that brings together representatives of the private sector and of governments to foster a common goal. The position of Chair was awarded to Paola due to her experience as a business leader and being President of ValoreD, the association of Italian companies that promotes gender balance to which our company is also a part.

Empower illustration by Margherita Fruscoloni Morello.

"The work to bring this path to fruition began a long time ago, when I was invited by the Minister Bonetti to host the roundtable of the private sector which, lately, would have gone under the Italian Presidency," Paola Mascaro said. "In fact, without the full involvement of companies that make a point of taking this issue to heart and implementing a true corporate culture of equality, the work carried out by the institutions would be partial and less effective. Our recommendations in terms of measurability, policies and skills are based on the feedback of the companies themselves and respond to their needs. We have garnered the support of over 400 CEOs who are globally ready to promote the advancement of women in leadership positions in the private sector, in keeping with the entire ecosystem.”

Mascaro explained: "the biggest challenge has been convergence. Each country has its own cultural characteristics that are also reflected in the suggestion of measures, such as quotas.  These are not easy to apply to Anglo-Saxon countries, therefore the work of negotiation and setting guidelines has been intense, so much so that the Communiquè final document has gained even greater value: because it is based on consensus, and clearly states what companies can do to contribute to the professional growth of women and to gender equality.”

G20 Empower was established in 2019 at the Japan Summit with two key objectives in mind: to define the role of the private sector and the actions that it can put in place to incentivize gender inclusion; and to provide recommendations for governments to work in synergy with businesses.

Paola Mascaro, VP Communications and Public Affairs and Board Member of Avio Aero.

Without the full involvement of companies that make a point of taking this issue to heart and implementing a true corporate culture of equality, the work carried out by the institutions would be partial and less effective

The Chair of the G20 added: "the three key pillars of the document summarize the plan of action. It is crucial to discuss measurability, because we need indicators to assess the level of achievement of certain goals. With these indicators, it will be possible to develop policies that operate at all levels of the company including the definition of recruitment policies and, last but not least, the investment in skills so that women can face and take on the technological and sustainability challenges of the future."

The work of G20 Empower will be delivered to the G20 leaders who will meet at the end of October in Rome. "The Alliance aims to provide governments with an overview of the actions needed to reduce the gender gap and to identify the tools” Mascaro concluded. “Now it is up to the institutions to do their part and lead the way for change. Female leadership is a driver of economic and social growth for every nation. We can't wait any longer.”