Empowering Women in APEC
The United States, together with Taiwan, known as Chinese Taipei, announced their intent to create an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, sub-fund on women and the economy, which will enable APEC economies to apply for funding to support new or existing initiatives focused on women's empowerment.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the San Francisco Declaration in which APEC ministers and senior officials agreed to take concrete actions to integrate women more fully into APEC economies.
Over the last five years, the United States has championed a number of initiatives through APEC that build on the commitment to advance women's roles in APEC economies through compiling and analyzing data, strengthening the regional ecosystem for entrepreneurs, promoting women's health, and advancing women and girls in traditionally male-dominated sectors, including science, technology, engineering, and math –- known as STEM -- and transportation.
This year, the United States launched a new initiative to break down barriers to women's participation in STEM-related fields. The initiative consisted of an APEC-wide researchstudy to examine efforts across the region to increase women's participation in these fields and two workshops in which representatives from the private sector, civil society, and governments shared best practices and lessons learned from ongoing programs.
The United States also continues to support the WE-APEC initiative in order to identify and connect women's entrepreneurship networks in each economy with public and private sector support services and global supply chains to ultimately expand economic opportunities and regional trade.
Sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved if women are unable to fully participate in the economy due to health concerns. To address this issue, the United States, together with the Philippines, launched the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative, a public-private partnership that is working to advance women's health and well-being to increase their economic participation.
In addition, five APEC economies, including the United States, have launched pilot activities aimed at increasing women's engagement across the transportation sector.
It is clearly in the interest of the economies in the region to integrate women into the economy. It has been proven time and again, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, "that where women are participating . . .fully, the society tends to be more stable, it tends to be participatory, and particularly it tends to be more productive."