The United States has been a longstanding champion of bolstering the role of women in the global economy through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Kelly Ann Shaw led the U.S. delegation to the 2019 APEC Women and the Economy Forum, joined by representatives from the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. industry. Key efforts undertaken by the U.S. Government to advance women’s economic empowerment in APEC economies, in alignment with the pillars of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative launched in February 2019 under the leadership of Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, include:
Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): The United States leads APEC’s efforts to improve the enabling environment for women and girls in STEM fields. Ms. Shaw, as well as partners from Chile, Australia, and the private sector, launched the APEC Women and STEM Principles and Actions, encouraging all STEM stakeholders to sign on to the Principles and undertake actions to support the Principles. The U.S. Government also hosted a Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Catalyst pitch competition, which provided 15 female STEM entrepreneurs in the APEC region the opportunity to showcase their start-up companies and receive mentorship, skills-building tools, and financing. Amazon Web Services contributed US $20,000 in cash prizes to be distributed among the winners.
APEC Women@Work: Enabling Women in the Workforce through Structural Reform: The U.S. Government is working with other APEC economies to better understand and address the regulatory, policy and legal barriers to workforce participation that women face across the Asia-Pacific region, consistent with the W-GDP Initiative’s Third Pillar, focused on the overall enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment, including laws and regulations. The U.S. Government launched an APEC Women@Work brief, which examines how some laws and regulations can increase women’s workforce participation, while others can represent significant barriers to women’s entry and advancement in the formal workforce. The brief provides examples of effective laws, policies and approaches that can support working women and working parents to actively thrive and advance in the workplace.
Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE): The United States honored the first Chilean graduates of the W-GDP Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a program the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs launched this year in 26 countries. The Chilean graduates from the program gained the practical skills, tools, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises, with facilitated online learning through the DreamBuilder platform. With this knowledge, AWE graduates will build a better future for their families and their communities in Chile and around the world.
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and Women-led Businesses: The U.S. Government is working on new efforts to address the barriers that face women entrepreneurs and women-owned or women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the APEC region. Through this initiative, the United States will identify specific challenges facing women entrepreneurs in e-commerce and develop a self-assessment tool to identify how governments can close the gaps and create an enabling environment to help overcome the challenges women entrepreneurs face in fully participating in e-commerce.
APEC Women and the Economy Forum Statement: At the conclusion of the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy, Ms. Shaw and the other high-level delegates issued the 2019 Statement on Women and the Economy and welcomed the Santiago Roadmap on Women and Inclusive Growth, which APEC Leaders will release in November to catalyze APEC economies to drive greater economic participation of women in the Asia-Pacific region.