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 greater inclusion of women in the regional economy are high on APEC’s agenda.

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

Currently, in the 21 APEC economies, approximately 600 million women are in the labor force, with over 60 percent 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, the United States. 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.

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: 10 Aug 2016

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 will be assessed and reported on for the second time in 2017.   Link:  http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1656

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 entrepreneurs to connect to each other.


Women’s Leadership

Among various issues related to women´s empowerment, gender gap in companies’ leading positions, corporate boards and senior management level has been one of the most important challenges for all APEC economies. Following the 50 leading companies for women in APEC 2014, the Good Practices on Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership for Growth project focus on the impact of gender diversity on boards and in senior management level and picks up and compile companies’ best practices to achieve corporate growth by promoting women’s leadership. 

The “Individual Action Plan (IAP) for the Enhancement of the Ratio of Women’s Representation in Leadership” project was launched to promote women's participation in the economy in all levels, particularly in leadership, decision-making and management. The IAPs will serve as mechanisms for measurable and aspirational voluntary goals which economies could work toward by the end of 2020, with a view to assessing progress of ratio of women's representation in leadership. In order to further promote women´s representation in leadership and accelerate the voluntary goals and the momentum of the initiative of each economy, the project will explore and stock take of good practices of the policies as well as actions taken for promoting women´s representation in leadership both in public and private sectors through the mid-term review study and Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) in 2017 which will be held in Viet Nam.

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. The framework that has emerged from this activity thus far encompasses four areas that impact future prospects for women and girls across the Asia-Pacific region: the Enabling Environment, Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship. Following the presentation of initial results at APEC’s Women and the Economy Forum, the final study will be shared later in the year as part of a workshop that engages high-level APEC government officials and private-sector representatives. The workshop will specifically address regional gaps and seek direct commitments toward increasing the representation of women and girls in STEM education and careers. A “STEM” camp, which focuses on STEM as well as the Arts, for adolescent girls will engage experts and private sector leaders to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders


Launched in 2016, APEC BEST Award is the first contest for women-entrepreneurs across the APEC region. Taking into account that gender differences impact significantly on women’s employment in real sectors of the APEC economies and in organizational structures of enterprises where a priority is given to men, the task of creating and development of women’s business ideas and women-owned SMEs is important and prospective. Spreading the best practices of women-owned SMEs among APEC economies provides an opportunity to attract a larger number of women into SMEs founding, create new jobs in different industries, and support economic growth and development by applying promising business models based on domestic success stories.  APEC BEST Award will provide an opportunity to internationalize women-run businesses, attract international partners and potential investors from the APEC economies as well as contribute to building a network among women-entrepreneurs, consultants, mentors and investors across the APEC region.

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. Following the project analysis, it presented an innovative learning application “WE boss” and toolkit as an innovative package for both public and private sector stakeholders. The conclusive meeting to be held in September, will provide better understanding on how inclusive economic growth and development can be turned into practical and implementable strategies

For more information see news releases.


H.E. DAO Ngoc Dung (Mr)
2017 Chair of the High Level Dialogue on Women and the Economy
Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Viet Nam
Chairperson of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam
Email: sec.vnppwe@molisa.gov.vn
HOANG Thi Thu Huyen (Ms)
2017 Chair of Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy
Deputy Director General of Gender Equality Department
Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Viet Nam
Deputy Director General of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam
Email: huyen.vnppwe@molisa.gov.vn ; huyenmolisa@gmail.com
CC: sec.vnppwe@molisa.gov.vn
Penelope Howarth (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: ph15@apec.org


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29 Sep 2017 High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy (HLPD) – Ministerial Level Meeting Hue City, Viet Nam
29 Sep 2017 Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy Management Council Meeting Hue City, Viet Nam
27 Sep 2017 APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy Second Meeting Hue City, Viet Nam
26 Sep 2017 Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPDWE) Hue City, Viet Nam
26 Sep 2017 Women and the Economy Forum Hue City, Viet Nam
14 May 2017 Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation Meeting (PPSTI) in Collaboration with PPWE: Implementing the APEC Women in STEM Framework- Workshop on Building a Pipeline for Girls and Women and Coding the Way to Success. Ha Noi, Viet Nam
11 May 2017 Human Resource Development (HRDWG) in collaboration with PPWE and HWG - Workshop on Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HRD 05-2016A) Ha Noi, Viet Nam
09 May 2017 APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy First Meeting Ha Noi, Viet Nam