W20 2019 Tokyo Summit

W20 2019 Tokyo Summit

Argentina handed presidency over to Japan

Every year G20 is hosted by one country and this year the presidency of the G20 resides with Japan. The summit was held in Osaka on June 28-29. A bit earlier there was the W20 summit in Tokyo in March. Gülden Türktan, Founder of W20, shared some details. 

In Japan, Sakura is a special festivity to welcome spring. That tree has two special meanings. The first one is cherry blossom that makes the cherry trees pink, giving everybody fresh and happy spring welcoming. Secondly, it also represents – a culture of reborn, where the blossoms that are born at the end of March very quickly turn into cherry – the new beginnings. 

The W20 summit was held at Sakura time in 2019. That is kind of sacred time for Japan. Holding summit at that time could mean the message for women that they were also sacred. 

There was not much time in between the issuing of 2018 W20 Communiqué of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the preparation and issuing of the 2019 W20 Communiqué of Tokyo, Japan: only a few months. The W20 team had to work hard and the Japanese team had to work even harder. That is why the Japanese W20 presidency not only had the stress of producing the W20 Communiqué that would be well accepted by the world and reflect a value add for their own country and as well for all the G20 countries, but they also had to do it in too little time before the introduction of G20 declaration. 

Japan had to prepare a document that would add the activity agenda of the Great Twenty and be useful for the world in a short time. 


Shinzō Abe , Prime Minister of Japan, gave a dinner reception to the guests and heads of delegations of W20 in his Residence. Short and well messaged speeches were made and special tasting of Japanese kitchen with a delightful set up and remarkable tableware with delicious tastes were served at the dinner. 

The day following the W20 2019 Summit, there was an open to public meeting women event which was called WAW – World Assembly of Women. 

This is a meeting that Japan annually holds at Sakura time. Within the meeting, Haruno Yoshida and Yoriko Meguro, the co-Chairs of W20 Japan, presented the W20 Communiqué to the Prime Minister. Later, that document was handed over to the G20 leaders. 

The Prime Minister of Japan performed at the Assembly. It was clear from his words that he not only had a very good understanding of the issues, but he also knew about the solution proposals of the W20 Communiqué as well. 

Women leaders from different countries spoke at the Assembly. Michelle Bachelet, past time Prime Minister of Chili and now the UN High Commissioner, Gabriela Michetti, Vice President of Argentina, and Malala Yousafzai, a young Nobel Prize winner and famous public activist from Pakistan were among speakers. Another speaker was Melanne Verveer, the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University as well as Arancha González, the Executive Director of International Trade Centre (ITC). 


The UN High Commissioner (President of Argentina in the past) Michelle Bachelet said that gender discrimination held back not only women but all the society as well. 

About 2,7 billion women are restricted to access the same options with men. If women were to participate in the economy, it would bring 28 billion dollars to the world economy. 

According to Gabriela Michetti (Vice President of Argentina), women can achieve great success in economy. The main thing is that they have access to leading positions. Before her, the only woman who held the title of Vice President of Argentina was Isabel Martínez de Perón. 

The chairperson of the Board of Shishido said 40% of the board of Shishido were women. “It brings joy, confidence and happiness to work”, he added. 

Malala Yousafzai, said that women in many countries were not sufficiently prepared to enter the work force. Almost five years have passed, and there is still a gap with the goals set. Girls’ education has been a priority. To guarantee a better future, it is needed to invest in that sphere today. 

Minister of Women Affairs in Burkina Faso said that the girls are encouraged to study science in her country. Much attention is paid to instill responsible approach to giving birth in young women. 

Many interesting statistics facts were presented within the meeting. For example, one of speakers mentioned that the wage gap had decreased by 14% in Europe. 

According to the analysis of the access to internet, 16 percent less women than men have access to internet in Turkey. On the contrary, more women than men use internet in Jamaica. 


Women’s leadership was an important topic to be discussed. Unfortunately, it was mentioned in Communiqué that the importance of participation of women in managing companies and their representation on Boards still had to be explained to many countries. 

In the 2019 W20 Communiqué the governance aspect was added. The participants suggested the Ministers of Labour and Employment performing at the G20 summit in 2020 with reports about realisation of initiatives reducing the gender gap on labour markets. 

The W20 was launched in 2015 Based on the fact that the target of G20 was to decrease the gap in economic participation between men and women by 25 percent by 2025. 

W20 Japan Communiqué includes 3 major factors reducing the gender gap: labor inclusion, digital inclusion, and financial inclusion. Governance was the fourth dimension added. 

The participants of the organisation mentioned the necessity of creating mechanisms monitoring the progress on the G20 commitments. 


It was well elaborated that elderly care was an essential policy to fight aging of population in Japan and other countries. Special emphasis was given to artificial intelligence (AI) and the applications around it to enhance economies as well as gender equality. 

In Communiqué 2015 adopted in Istanbul, the W20 team identified the measures of determining the process of reaching the goal of reducing the gender gap in different countries. It is related to the fact that it is impossible to estimate the success without concrete measuring. 

The W20 delegates agreed on seven recommendation and 15 sub-recommendations. Removal of legal and social barriers in labour market, digital gap, financial

inclusion, education regarding unconscious gender bias, fighting with all forms of violence, instituting transparent governance and accountability mechanism were among them. 

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Based on materials provided by Gülden Türktan

Translated by Yan Zarubin