1. August 2017

What Do Young People Think About G20 and Women’s Economic Empowerment?

The G20’s civil society dialogue offers a platform for a whole range of important stakeholders. But what do young people think about female leadership or climate change? As part of our blog series on the G20 and women’s economic empowerment, we took a closer look at the ideas of the Youth 20 Dialogue.

An Interview with Rupert S. Heindl and Leokadia Melchior


Before the G20 Summit in Hamburg, young delegates from all over the world met in Berlin to discuss the future of international dialogue. The event was one of many leading up to the summit. But this time, the participating countries were represented by young adults. Critics have repeatedly called upon a stronger integration of voices from young generations in the decision-making process of the G20 and other international political formats. Especially when it comes to climate change which will affect young generations even more so. Women’s economic empowerment is just another pressing topic where the motion varies across the generational gap, which again signals the relevance of taking younger voices into account. The Y20’s position paper addresses the importance of putting women’s empowerment on the agenda more explicitly.

Polis member Leokadia Melchior spoke to Rupert S. Heindl, a German Youth 20 delegate, about the Y20 as a forum of youth participation and how youth reflects on women’s economic empowerment.


Rupert, what are the objectives of the Y20 and who participates in the Y20 debate?

Rupert S. Heindl: Young people with different cultural and professional backgrounds met at the Y20 in Berlin to contribute their own concepts to the future of international dialogue. The main objective is, of course, to realise meaningful youth participation in the G20 dialogue and draw attention to the ideas of the youth.


Your present slogan is “Building resilience, improving sustainability, assuming responsibility”. How do you incorporate the Y20 motto and what part plays women’s empowerment?

Rupert: The G20 summit it very much about talking. Many young people around the world are already organised in youth organisations to take action and realise a sustainable world. And sustainable development can not be achieved without empowering women because they are important agents of change. Therefore, we highlighted the need for female leadership, better job opportunities for women and many other related points in our position paper.


Do you believe the Y20 in particular helps to raise awareness of women’s empowerment? Do you actually consider the issue as accomplished for your generation?

Rupert: The G20 states represent a big part of the world economy. So they certainly have the power to improve the global situation. But at the same time, it is absolutely necessary to steadily work on the matter and bring together all countries, especially developing countries. 


Will the Y20 include gender considerations into policy recommendations for G20 policy-makers?

Rupert: One of the main points of our position paper is indeed to empower women. But of course many of the other topics are related to gender issues. I think the first step to achieve gender-equality is to raise awareness. If the political will was strong enough and the G20 countries made gender-equality a key issue, then a lot could be done. So the main challenge at the moment is the lack of honest political will.


Are the G20 civil society dialogues an ideal format to push for women’s empowerment?

Rupert: As long as the leaders of the G20 meet for a summit, civil society has to be there and remind them of our positions and their responsibility. But I think that a stronger inclusion of the not-G20 governments is crucial.


Rupert S. Heindl is one of three German delegates of the Youth 20 Dialogue. He is a student of Mechanical Engineering at TU Munich and the Chair of the Catholic Country Youth Bavaria (Katholische Landjugendbewegung Bayern). From 2014 to 2016 he was a youth delegate at the UN for sustainable development.

The project “Women’s Economic Empowerment and the G20” is part of Polis180’s program area Women and International Politics. The project features an interview series on the Polis Blog as well as a public event foreseen for autumn 2017.

The Polis Blog serves as a platform at the disposal of Polis180’s members. Published comments express solely the authors’ opinions and shall not be confounded with the opinions of the editors or of Polis180. Image source: „PU Svea. 7-9/10 2011. Stockholm, Järfälla.“, Gia Willow Alexa Annermarkenhttp://bit.ly/2tFXK4J, lizensiert unter Creative Commons license 2.0.: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.


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