The Civil 20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability hosted its virtual Inaugural Event on February 2, 2023, at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India. The event, attended by 484 attendees from 26 countries and 13 states within India. It marked the momentous start of a series of important meetings and policy dialogues aimed at bringing important issues, related to gender equality and disability inclusion, to the forefront of the G20 global forum.
In her opening address, Dr. Bhavani Rao, India Coordinator said, “The C20 India Chair, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, founder of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, is herself, a mind blowing example of one woman’s capacity to reach across International borders cultures, languages and religions; She is a light and inspires others to be the light.”
The meeting was then graced by the words of the C20 Chair, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. “This is an auspicious occasion,” said Amma about the Civil 20, “we have embarked on a mission to restore the dwindling light of the world. May the ethos of vasudhaiva kuṭuṁbakam—’The world is one family’—awaken, be put into practise and bear fruit in everyone.”
Distinguished speakers such as Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Representative of the C20 Chair, and Amb. Vijay Nambiar, C20 Sherpa also spoke about the importance and priorities of the Civil 20 and important role of the Civil 20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability.
“A shift in the current attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality can bring about the change we need to see,” said Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri.“Men and women must work together to create a world of acceptance, recognition and respect. Let us keep moving forward towards this goal.”
Amb. Vijay Nambiar, C20 Sherpa, also shared inspiring words about how policy dialogues are an important piece of the G20 forum. “Through these C20 policy dialogues, may we embrace a wider perspective that celebrates the bounties of nature and the world around us in a spirit of unity and respect amongst each other.”
The Coordinators of the Working Group, Bhavani Rao, India Coordinator, Amrita University, India; Meg Jones, International Coordinator, Amrita University, India; and Nidhi Goyal, India Co-Coordinator, Rising Flame, India then shared a detailed structure of the Working Group, subthemes, timeline, and how organizations can participate and effect change.
“Our GED working group is shaped by a diverse and strong collective that shares the same ideal to bring social justice issues under gender equality and disability inclusion to the forefront of the G20 forum,” said Nidhi Goyal, India Co-Coordinator, Rising Flame.
In the lead-up to India’s G20 summit, policy recommendations will be developed through a series of dialogues with hundreds of CSOs facilitated by the Gender Equality and Disability Working Group. These policy recommendations will be submitted to G20 leaders for consideration and implementation. The policy dialogues will focus on these sub-themes:
Physical and Mental Heath
Economic Empowerment & Sustainable Livelihoods
Education & Skill Development
Safety & Security
Society & Culture
Engaging Men and Boys