BRICS Agenda for Women’s Leadership and Women-Led EconomicGrowth

This panel discussion was a response to the significant challenges confronting women as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, from women’s weakened participation in the labour force to the escalation in unpaid work as carers. The panel examined the post-pandemic policy, business and socio-economic landscape for women and explored how BRICS can support women-led economic growth. The panellists proposed the establishment of a policy for labour-related care for women and a social security grant for women’s unpaid work, particularly given that the pandemic had disproportionately and negatively impacted on women’s ability to be socially and economically active.

The discussion highlighted the importance of greater public safety of women and increased digitisation in social security as
key focus areas for post-pandemic recovery. The panel supported Dr Victoria Panova, Vice-President for International Relations in Russia, in suggesting the development of a toolkit for women’s empowerment and the strengthening of the role of the BRICS Women’s Federation. Prof Sarah Mosoetsa, CEO of South Africa’s NIHSS, suggested increased gender mainstreaming and equal education, particularly for the youth.

The panel also agreed that it was important that BRICS countries share successful initiatives to boost cooperation and knowledge sharing and for the BRICS to become better allies and cocollaborators. In essence, the panel members argued that the BRICS needed a social-cultural rethink that placed women at the centre of postpandemic economic recovery.