A range of innovative ideas for expanding gender inclusiveness and women’s leadership have been proposed in Yokohama.

The ideas were voiced at “The APEC Leadership Forum on Women: Powerhouse for Economic Growth,” which convened on 8-9 March in Yokohama, Japan, where the 2010 APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting was held. This Forum is the first international initiative to follow-up on the San Francisco Declaration adopted at the September 2011 APEC Women and the Economy Summit.

During the one and a half day exchange, delegates identified a range of strategies for empowering women to exercise their leadership and enhance APEC economies’ growth potential and competitiveness.

The Forum brought together senior officials, female business leaders and entrepreneurs, researchers and the general public to offer substantive ideas to APEC’s 21 member economies for promoting women’s leadership as a driver of growth.

Women represent a much smaller percentage of leadership positions than their economic contribution, education levels and business, according to the San Francisco Declaration which was issued last year at the APEC Women and the Economy Summit.

“It is vital for APEC economies to provide women with opportunity to extend their leadership in order to achieve greater economic growth and strengthen competitiveness,” said Yasuhiro Nakane, Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan, who opened the forum.

“Our goal is to consider the four elements of women’s leadership – institutional mindsets, individual mindsets, organizational obstacles and work-life challenges – and pinpoint ways to ensure that they interact positively with synergic effects and inspire women’s leadership,” Kenji Goto, APEC Senior Official, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan, added.

APEC members account for over half of total global economic output and more than 60 percent of women in the APEC economies are part of their formal workforces.

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi focused on identifying ways to raise the profiles of women entrepreneurs and business leaders to promote women’s leadership.

“During my over 40 years experience in the public and private sectors, I learned there are so many advantages women can deliver,” said Hayashi, one of Japan’s female business leaders and a member of the Council for Gender Equality of the Cabinet Office of Japan.

Forum results will be reported at the coming APEC Women and the Economy Forum on 28-30 June 2012 in St. Petersburg.

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For more information, contact David Hendrickson +65 6891 9671 at drh@apec.org or Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org

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