APEC Ministers concluded the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in St Petersburg today by issuing a statement outlining members’ onward strategy for cooperatively and inclusively supporting women’s empowerment and decreasing gender barriers in the region’s innovation economy.

The statement calls on APEC economies to conduct a comprehensive review of women’s economic role and contribution, as well as of current programs and policies that exist to further women’s economic participation. This includes an analysis of women’s participation in innovation, business and social aspects of the economy, particularly through the collection of gender-disaggregated data.

The goal is to help identify the main growth drivers for equitable economic enhancement and methods for progressively balanced development in the region.

Recommendations put forward to help APEC economies to include:

  • Harnessing the business and innovation potential of women and girls;
  • Holistically assessing and analyse gender dynamics in business opportunities in APEC economies, and promoting women’s leadership, greater job and entrepreneurship opportunities, and women’s overall economic participation;
  • Advancing public-private initiatives that can support women’s full and active participation in the labor market and increase productivity

The Statement of the APEC Women and the Economy Forum is available and downloadable now.

Today’s High Level Policy Dialogue capped off the three-day APEC Women and the Economy Forum and heard from Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. She noted that women are a key factor for economic growth in the dynamic region of the Asia-Pacific, and throughout the world.

“If women are able to take part in the political and economic activity alongside men; if they have an opportunity to unlock their intellectual, professional and creative potential their business initiative, then this will positively influence the global economy as a whole,” she said.

“We must do everything to involve women in the economy and to appoint them to positions that would be determined by their educational and professional level, their business abilities and not depend on the constraints caused by gender prejudice and outdated traditions.”

Matvienko said that APEC is one of the centers responsible for the global economic climate and that women should take an active part in the processes.

“Women have made huge progress in innovative sectors that have been previously dominated by men,” she explained. “There are many women who are joining IT, pharmaceutical and bio-medical technology companies.”

“We are working on creating an environment that would be conducive for unlocking women’s intellectual and creative potential,” she continued. “This helps us involve self-contained, prominent women in politics and the economy.”

Matvienko noted that the period of instability in the world economy as a whole is far from over and explained that APEC attaches a growing importance to women’s involvement in the economy and business.

“It’s all about practical steps like contributing to providing access to businesses owned by women, providing greater access to capital, promoting higher education among women, and creating a concerted policy to support women entrepreneurs in the region and eliminating discrimination,” she concluded. “We believe that government policy must take into account the factors that would make investment in women’s entrepreneurship profitable.”

The results of the APEC Women and the Economy Forum will be reported during the 2012 APEC Leaders Meeting in Vladivostok on 8-9 September.

Indonesia’s Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar, invited members to attend the 2013 APEC Women Economy Forum in Indonesia.

“Women could play a broader participative role, not only to strengthen resilience and reduce the effect of economic volatility, but also to contribute in recovery efforts and to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” noted Gumelar.

“I look forward to a collaborative and productive partnership with APEC members on this issue.”

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For more information, please contact David Hendrickson +65 9371 8901 at drh@apec.org or Michael Chapnick (in Russia) +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org.

More details about APEC’s 2012 priorities and initiatives for the year can be found on www.apec.org or www.apec2012.ru.

Additional details about APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found at www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook.