Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once again emphasized the need for women to be incorporated into the global economy at the APEC Women and Economy Forum.
Government, business, and academic representatives attended the forum, held on June 29 at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, from each of the 21 APEC member countries.
In her 2011 APEC conference remarks, Clinton called for APEC members to tap into the potential of women’s contribution to economies by committing to removing the obstacles that block women’s access to markets.
This year, Secretary Clinton followed up on how APEC has already made progress towards fully tapping into this potential. Clinton outlined two main ways that APEC is supporting these efforts: opening doors for procurement policies that support women-owned businesses and making it easier for women to acquire credit.
Clinton emphasized the potential that governments’ purchasing power has for supporting women-owned businesses. In order to foster these policies, she stated that APEC is “working with the United Nations International Trade Center to improve the ability of APEC governments to source from women-owned businesses.”
To support the suitability of women-owned businesses for government contracts, Clinton recognized that APEC must “work to help governments see how they can help build the capacity of women entrepreneurs to meet the needs of large-scale buyers.”
Second, Clinton addressed the obstacles women face in acquiring credit. “We are joining with expert partners to train central and commercial banks throughout the Asia Pacific in inclusive lending practices so that women can access finance and capital.”
Just a year after signing the San Francisco declaration, APEC has taken concrete steps towards recognizing its commitment to women. La Pietra Coalition applauds these efforts and looks forward to tracking APEC’s progress to greater incorporate women in the global economy.
Photo courtesy of the State Department.