G20 report calls for UK action on women entrepreneurs and discrimination

A G20 report calls for UK action on maternity discrimination, easier access to finance for female entrepreneurs and the challenging of gender stereotyped roles in the workplace.

man and woman's feet standing next to empty baby shoes


The UK needs to promote more gender-equal roles at home and address social norms that view unpaid care and domestic work as women’s responsibility, reduce maternity and pregnancy discrimination and collect data on the different forms of workplace harassment by gender, according to a G20 report.

Ending gender-based discrimination in G20 countries: a frame for action, a joint OECD-Women 20 (W20) report, looks at women’s labour inclusion, women’s entrepreneurship and access to finance and violence against women and girls in the context of Covid-19 across 20 countries, including the UK.

It says that only through good data can workplace harassment be tackled and calls for strengthened pregnancy and maternity protections in line with the recommendation provided in the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices (2017) which called for current protections to be extended until six months after parents’ return to work after parental leave. The recommendation was accepted by Theresa May’s government in 2018 and is hoped to form part of the forthcoming and much delayed Employment Bill.

In terms of entrepreneurship and access to finance, the report calls for women to get easier access to financial services and venture capital through making information transparent and widely available, promoting access to and affordability and use of connected digital devices and promoting e-banking and mobile money as well as other digital tools, including in rural areas.

It also calls for the establishment of training and programmes to improve women’s financial and digital literacy and skills and build their confidence in decision-making over finances, including through women’s networking and mentoring programmes and for better data on female entrepreneurs and women’s access to and use of financial services to identify any gaps.

Finally, the reports wants to see established stereotypes challenged through awareness-raising campaigns and female role modelling to counter gender segregation among businesses, through both traditional and online communication channels.

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