Research has shown that increasing the participation of women in the economy will enhance growth in economies throughout the Asia-Pacific Region.
The important role of women as prime movers of inclusive growth has been chosen as the main focus of the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Forum scheduled for September 15 to 18 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Leaders from 21 member-economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and representatives from the private sector will 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 will have three components. First is the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), which 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 potentials 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, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 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,” Terrado added.
Emmeline Verzosa, Philippine Commission on Women executive director and chair of 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,” Versoza said.
“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,” she added.
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, co-chairman 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.”
The Fora is jointly organized by the DTI, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the Women’s Business Council Philippines.