Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy
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The APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (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.

In 1998 APEC Leaders endorsed the recommendations of the first Ministerial Meeting on Women in Makati City, Philippines, and this resulted in the formation of the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Ad-Hoc Advisory Group on Gender Integration (AGGI). The AGGI was tasked to assist with the implementation of the "Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC" within APEC groups, and to provide recommendations on gender integration. Its mandate expired in 2002 and Ministers then endorsed the establishment of the APEC Gender Focal Point Network (GFPN) to continue to advance the implementation of the Framework and to sustain the AGGI's achievements in maintaining awareness on gender issues.

The PPWE was established at the second Senior Officials’ Meeting in May 2011 held at Big Sky, Montana, the United States. It combined the former APEC Gender Focal Point Network (GFPN) and the private sector-oriented Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) – creating a single public-private entity to streamline and elevate the influence of women’s issues within APEC.

The PPWE effectively acts as an institutional mechanism for reporting to the SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) on APEC gender activities and outcomes. The broad goal of the PPWE is to provide linkages between APEC working groups, APEC economies and the APEC Secretariat to advance the economic integration of women in the APEC region for the benefit of all members.

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At the second meeting of the PPWE in June 2012 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, members presented their Individual Action Plans (IAP) based on the four priority areas identified at the 2011 Meeting

The PPWE members also exchanged views on how best to pursue its eight tasks:

  1. Assist APEC groups and actively cooperate with them to identify and address priority gender equality and women and the economy issues;
  2. Promote and report on women’s representation across APEC and within individual groups;
  3. Assess the use of gender equality criteria in project proposals, reporting and evaluation;
  4. Collect and share best practices in gender equality integration;
  5. Support and report on the progress of implementation of gender integration within individual groups and across APEC economies;
  6. Proactively engage key members of PPWE, including private sector members and ABAC;
  7. Collaborate and assist in the development of project proposals in the area of women in the economy;
  8. Propose recommendations and areas of priority for advancing gender equality and women and the economy integration in APEC.

The PPWE Management Council Meeting expressed the need to develop its medium and long term work plans to submit to the SCE, based on the IAP submitted by a majority of the membership.

The second meeting of the PPWE was held in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, in June 2012. Member economies presented their Individual Action Plans in the four policy areas identified at last year’s meeting to increase women’s economic participation: (i) Access to Capital; (ii) Access to Markets; (iii) Capacity and Skills Building; and (iv) Women’s Leadership. Participants also discussed its operational plans for 2013.

Like in San Francisco, a High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) was also held, as well as a Public/Private Dialogue that focused on 6 specific areas: Women in the Innovative Economy, Investment in Human Capital, Women and Entrepreneurship, Work-Life Balance, Women in Corporate Management and Women and IT.

The Statement issued at the end of the HLPD  encouraged APEC economies to assess the role of women and their contribution to the economy, as well as current programs and policies that exist to further women’s economic participation, both of which could include gender disaggregated data, an analysis of women’s participation in innovation, business and social aspects of the economy.

At their November 2011 Meeting, APEC Economic Leaders’ endorsed the San Francisco Declaration, which called for APEC members to take concrete actions to realize the full potential of women, integrate them more fully into APEC economies, and maximize their contributions towards economic growth.

Through the work of the PPWE/GFPN, a greater awareness of gender issues in APEC economies and groups is engendered. In particular gender-related concepts are increasingly understood as economic and social issues of national and regional importance in APEC economies. Many new policy issues relating to women and a gender-differentiated perspective have been put on the agendas of APEC economies as a result of the PPWE/GFPN’s initiatives.

The efforts of the PPWE/GFPN have increased the economies and decision-making participation of women within APEC. In 2005, the GFPN recommended to senior officials to increase women’s participation in the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Since then, several economies have lobbied to appoint a women member as one of the three persons appointed to ABAC from each member economy.

The PPWE/GFPN’s gender integration initiatives have had significant influence on the gender policies of member economies, if not on the activities of all APEC groups. This can be seen as the beginnings of a regional APEC community of gender experts and gender aware officials and citizens, a community that is promoting and advancing the economic interests of women for the benefits of all APEC economies.

Sri DANTI (Ms)
Cc: ernitguh@yahoo.com
Grace Cruz-Fabella (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
21 - 23 May 2014 Women and the Economy Forum Beijing, China