Boris Johnson has told G7 leaders he wants to create a “more feminine” world as the international community builds back from the Covid crisis.
The prime minister was speaking as he welcomed leaders including Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to the first round-table session of the summit of leading democracies in Cornwall.
Mr Johnson said that world powers must ensure that the coronavirus pandemic does not leave a “lasting scar” of deeper and more entrenched inequality.
And he told his fellow leaders they should be aiming at “building back greener, building back fairer and building equally and – how should I put it? – in a more gender neutral and perhaps a more feminine way.”
Mr Johnson came close to acknowledging the damage done by the austerity policies of Conservative-led governments in the wake of the 2008 financial crash as he said that today’s leaders must ensure that they do not “repeat the mistake” of that crisis as they plot the recovery from Covid.
“It is vital that we don’t repeat the mistake of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession in 2008, when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society,” he said.
“I think what’s gone wrong with this pandemic – or what risks being a lasting scar – is that I think that inequalities may be entrenched.
“We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up across our societies and we we build back better.”
Describing the better world which he hopes will result from the recovery, Mr Johnson said: “As a G7, we are united in our vision of a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change.
“And in those ideas, in those technologies -which we’re all addressing together – I think there is the potential to generate many, many millions of high-wage, high-skill jobs.
“And I think that is what the people of our countries now want us to focus on.
“They want to be sure that we’re beating the pandemic together discussing how we will never have a repeat of what we’ve seen, but also that we’re building back better together. Building back greener, building back fairer and building equally and – how should I put it? – in a more gender neutral and perhaps a more feminine way.”