Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy Working Group

APEC members recognize that the full potential of women’s contribution to the Asia-Pacific economy remains untapped. As a result, women’s economic empowerment and the greater inclusion of women in the regional economy are high on APEC’s agenda.

A recent United Nations report states that the limits on women’s participation in the workforce across the Asia-Pacific region cost the economy an estimated USD 89 billion every year.

Currently, in the 21 APEC economies, approximately 600 million women are in the labor force, with over 60 per cent engaged in the formal sector.

The goal of the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) is to advance the economic integration of women in the APEC region for the benefit of all members and to coordinate gender activities across other APEC working groups.

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

The PPWE works to address the five key pillars impacting women’s economic empowerment including:

  • Access to capital  
  • Access to market
  • Skills and capacity building
  • Women’s leadership and agency
  • Innovation and technology.
Last page update: November 2017

Current Activities

The Policy Partnership Women and the Economy (PPWE) meetings were held in Lima, Peru from 27-30 June 2016.  Three main component of meetings were held as following:

The High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy 2016 Forum was held in Lima, on June 30, 2016. It was chaired by Minister of Women and Vulnerable People of Peru, Ms. Marcela Huaita.

 The main theme of the 2016 APEC WE Forum was “Breaking Barriers to Economic Integration of Women in the Global Market” Also tackled five sub-themes: 1) Economy Care Systems: Recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work for inclusive growth; 2)Cost of gender-based violence in the context of economic development; 3) Mechanisms for the internationalization of MSMEs led by women; 4) Financial and economic literacy and inclusion for access to capital; and 5) Digital literacy for economic inclusion   .

APEC ministers, heads of delegations, seniors officials, and private sector leaders issued a statement.” that affirmed the need to eliminate barriers to women’s economic integration in the global market to work towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women, as well as building a better APEC region and a more inclusive world. Also, affirmed the critical role of men and boys in the achievement and realization of gender equality. Recognized the importance of having a systematic approach in engaging men in the promotion of women’s economic empowerment, including recognition and redistribution of unpaid and domestic work, elimination of gender-based violence and advancement of women’s political participation. Likewise, welcomed the outcomes of the Public Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPD-WE). The statement is their contribution to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November, in Lima.

The Policy Partnership Women and the Economy (PPWE) was held in Lima on 28-29 June 2016. It was chaired by Ms. Ana Maria Mendieta, Vice Minister Women; Ministry of Women and the Vulnerable People of Peru.


Economies adopted the Work Plan for 2016

Economies reported on their individual action plans (IAPs) aligned to the 5 APEC priority pillars

Economies adopted the APEC Women and the Economy 2016 Forum Statement

PPWE Workshops/Seminars:  

APEC Business Efficiency and Success target Award (BEST Award) (Russia) Lima, 29 June 2016

The main objective of the APEC BEST AWARD was to attract the interest of business and public community to the importance of developing women entrepreneurship across the APEC economies. Candidates were nominated by their respective APEC economy. They include women entrepreneurs from the region who run small businesses.

APEC Women’s Business Smart Technology Seminar: New Value Creation of APEC Women’s Business through Smart Technology and Leadership (Korea) Lima, 28 June 2016. The Seminar aimed to promote APEC women’s active participation in the economy using smart technologies and shared best practices and business models of successful women entrepreneurs based on smart technologies among others.

APEC Women in STEM: expanding Innovation and Opportunity by strengthening the presence of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (US) Lima, 29 June 2016.  The workshop focused in different aspect of this initiative, especially on:  Creating an Enabling Environment for Women in STEM; Opportunities in Formal Education and Lifelong Learning; Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement.

APEC Workshop in Implementing the WE-APEC Vision (US) Lima, 28 June 2016. The workshop focused in discuss the perspectives on leveraging WE-APEC to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for women.

Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPDWE) 2016

The opening program include the welcome remarks from Ms. Marcela Huaita, Minister of Women and Vulnerable People of Peru, HLPD-WE Chair, from Ms. Yolanda Torriani, Lead PPDWE and ABAC’s Representative.

Presentation on the following items were very well-received 

Session I: Opening Plenary: Keynote Speaker; Ms. Ana Revenga - World Bank.

Items: Mechanisms for the internationalization of MSMEs led by women

Financial and economic literacy and inclusion for access to capital

Session II: Series of Short TED-Style Talk Speakers.

Items:   Cost of gender-based violence in the context of economic development

Economy Care Systems: Recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care work for inclusive growth.

Session III: Break-Out Sessions. Mini workshops on the topics of the 5 sub-themes.

Session IV: Panel readout of key takeaways form break-out sessions: Arriving Private-Publication Recommendations. 

Closing Remarks: Private sector lead representative, Chair of the HLPD-WE and closing Keynote Speaker

Current Initiatives and Projects:

Measurement of Change

The Women and the Economy Dashboard is a set of 75 indicators on the status of women in APEC’s member economies. The Dashboard is a tool to track, measure, and communicate progress in reducing barriers to women’s economic participation across our five key pillars.: (a) Access to capital and assets; (b) Access to markets; (c) Skills, capacity building, and health; (d) Leadership, voice, and agency; and (e) Innovation and technology.

The APEC Policy Support Unit reported on the indicators under the Dashboard for the first time in September 2015, using highly credible international data sources such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the World Economic Forum, and the World Health Organization.

The Dashboard’s indicators were assessed and reported on for the second time in 2017.

Women’s Entrepreneurship

The Women's Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) initiative, which was launched in 2014, examined each economy's efforts with respect to business networks, private-sector initiatives, and government services in support of women's entrepreneurship. The findings of a far-reaching WE-APEC gap analysis offered a detailed view of the landscape for women entrepreneurs in the APEC region. Summaries of all 21 economies, including details about their respective networks, initiatives, and services, can be accessed and enhanced to strengthen eco-systems that support women's entrepreneurship.  The WE-APEC online platform (www.we-apec.com) shares this dynamic directory of service providers for women-owned businesses across APEC and provides a way for governments, the private sector, business networks and 

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WE boss

The “Innovation for Women and Economic Development: Facilitating Women’s Livelihood Development and Resilience with ICTs” multi-year project (2013-2016) was initiated to identify the key elements on promoting the economic involvement of women with technology and innovative IT tools.


Launched in 2016, APEC BEST Award is the first contest for women-entrepreneurs across the APEC region.

Women in STEM

Launched in 2016, the APEC Women in STEM initiative involves a range of activities, including an APEC-wide survey of initiatives aimed at strengthening the presence of women in STEM educational programs and careers.

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Contact Us

Ms Penelope HOWARTH

Program Director

Mr DAO Ngoc Dung

Chair, Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy
Chairperson of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam

Ms HOANG Thi Thu Huyen

Chair, Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy
Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Viet Nam
Deputy Director General of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam
huyen.vnppwe@molisa.gov.vn ; huyenmolisa@gmail.com
CC: sec.vnppwe@molisa.gov.vn