APEC Leaders Encourage Women's Participation
Rt Hon Jenny Shipley
Chair, APEC New Zealand 99
Media Release Monday 13 September 1999 For immediate release
APEC Leaders Encourage Continuing Growth In Women's Participation
"Women's role in Asia-Pacific economies is growing and APEC should seek to further increase their participation," the Rt Hon Jenny Shipley said today.
The 1999 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting has endorsed a Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC. The framework incorporates three inter-related tools to integrate gender perspectives in APEC's work:
gender analysis - a way to examine differences in the lives of men and women;
collection and use of sex-disaggregated data - data presented separately for women and men so that differences can be examined; and,
involvement of women in APEC - increasing the participation of women in APEC fora.
"Businesses owned by women in APEC economies are expanding more rapidly than the business sector as a whole, so further encouragement of this trend is imperative to the region's future prosperity," Mrs Shipley said.
"In particular APEC should address the barriers facing women wanting to participate in their economy's businesses, workforce, education and leadership. Fundamental to this is making it easier for them gain access to finance and information technology."
In recommending the adoption of the Framework by APEC, Ministers are seeking to increase economic opportunities for women by ensuring that future APEC work takes women's contributions into account.
"APEC fora will consider the different impacts of future proposals on both men and women, which will enable APEC to include women's economic interests in strategies for economic recovery and future prosperity," Mrs Shipley said.
The Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC was prepared by an Ad Hoc Task Force formed in February this year. The task force was co-chaired by New Zealand, Canada and the Philippines, with assistance from Korea. Most APEC economies participated in its preparation.
While the task force has now been disbanded, an advisory group will be formed to provide the gender expertise to APEC fora to enable them to implement the framework.
APEC Ministers' recommendations come in a year when New Zealand hosted the largest APEC Women Leaders' Network Meeting to date.
"The fourth Women Leaders' Network Meeting brought 400 delegates from all APEC economies to Wellington in June. The size and enthusiasm of this meeting is evidence of the increasing role of women in APEC and the need for APEC to look at ways for women to contribute to their economies to the best of their ability."