G20 labour ministers have resolved to boost female workforce participation, and also tackle youth joblessness and unsafe workplaces.

The nations of the G20 have diverse economies but share a common problem – not enough women in the workforce.

The G20 labour ministers, who have met for two days of talks in Melbourne, have resolved to boost job opportunities and tackle workplace inequality across the group of nations.

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the G20 was a mix of different economies and cultures, yet “we all do have a lower female participation rate than male participation rate”.

“There were all things we needed to improve,” Senator Abetz told reporters on Thursday.

Among workers aged 15 to 64 across the G20 nations, workforce participation for men is 83 per cent, compared with 57 per cent for women.

The declaration released at the meeting’s close also calls on G20 countries to increase the number and the quality of jobs, create safer workplaces, reduce informal jobs and tackle increasing youth unemployment.

“Reducing youth unemployment, stimulating demand and raising female participation and employment, in particular, command a high priority,” the declaration says.

The meeting included talks with labour, business and civil society groups.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow said the G20 had missed an opportunity to tackle declining wages.

“G20 leaders must ensure wages and jobs are at the heart of their discussion in Brisbane – the world needs a pay rise,” Ms Burrow said in a statement.

“Governments can’t keep cowering to the American corporate model of lowering wages and continue to believe the fiction that business can survive without customers who have money to spend.”

This week’s talks in Melbourne feed into employment plans to be discussed by each country at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane in November.