APEC 2015: Inclusive growth is impossible without the economic empowerment of women

From APEC Women and the Economy

Research has shown that increasing the participation of women in the economy will enhance growth in economies throughout the Asia-Pacific region. That is why the important role of women as prime movers of inclusive growth will be the main focus of the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Fora happening from September 15-18, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Distinguished leaders from 21 member-economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and representatives from the private sector collaborate to promote gender integration, gender equality, and women’s economic empowerment to foster sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

The forthcoming Fora has three components, the first of which, is the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE). The PPWE provides a mechanism to integrate gender considerations into APEC activities. It also provides policy advice on gender issues and supports gender equality where relevant to the APEC process.

Next is the Public Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPDWE) which supports the PPWE by harnessing more participation from multi-sector key players from the private sector, academia, and civil society for dialogue and exchange of learning and best endeavors to advance the gender integration, gender equality, and women’s economic empowerment agenda in APEC.

Lastly, there is the High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy (HLPD) which will bring together the Ministers and Heads of Delegation of the member-economies. A Women and the Economy Statement will be adopted, expected to deliver a set of actionable, measurable, and concrete policy recommendations culminated from the PPWE and PPDWE to be endorsed to the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November 2015. The Women and the Economy Statement shall bring to bear new growth strategies for women and inclusive businesses, women’s integration in global value chain and regional economy, and women practicing sustainable development.

“The Fora shall focus on five priority areas where women’s potential remain untapped. These are access to capital; access to markets; capacity and skills building; women’s leadership; and access to technology and innovation,” said Nora K. Terrado, Undersecretary of the Department of Trade Undersecretary and Chair of the APEC WE 2015 Fora. “With the right training, education and policies, APEC economies can further leverage their existing workforces as well as invest in future productivity,” Undersecretary Terrado adds.

Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa, who chairs PPWE, noted the importance of public-private partnership in making policies and programs in APEC more gender-responsive.

“Inclusive growth and women’s economic empowerment will be better achieved if sectors of government converge their efforts towards creating an enabling environment for all women especially those from the margins to access training, capital, markets, and technology. Women have their own style of leadership and governance that is more participatory and innovative. They are able to easily bounce back when faced with crisis situations.” said Executive Director Verzosa.

The APEC Women and the Economy Fora has emerged as a conscious effort by women representatives to take stock of past achievements, identify present and continuing barriers as well as appropriate interventions, and support future aspirations for women’s full participation.

Aurora Geotina-Garcia, the co-Chair of PPDWE and President of Womenbiz.PH said, “The private sector is eager to add its perspective on how to accelerate inclusive growth. Women have been at the forefront of SME and MSME initiatives. Hand in hand with the government, the vision of a progressive nation with gender-equal opportunities can be achieved sooner.”