On June 20 the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, in partnership with USCIB and the National Center for APEC, held the first APEC Women in the Economy Forum: Private Sector Working Group. The half-day workshop was attended by over 50 members of the private and public sectors, including many USCIB members who also participated on panel discussions. The workshop served to bring actionable recommendations and input from U.S. stakeholders to the APEC Women in the Economy Forum taking place in St. Petersburg June 28-30. The June 20 meeting was opened by U.S. APEC Senior Official Ambassador Hans Klemm and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer.
The APEC forum’s work focuses on four main pillars: Access to Capital, Access to Markets, Skills and Capacity Building and Women’s Leadership. The workshop held panel discussions around each pillar and explored how the four pillars factor into the six topics that Russia is focusing on during their host year, which are: Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Work-Life Balance (or Integration), Corporate Management, IT and Investments in Human Capital. Representatives from USCIB member companies including Deloitte, Eastman Chemical, Intel and Qualcomm were asked to give their expertise in these areas and talk about best practices from their companies.
USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg led discussion on Access to Markets and brought attention to the OECD’s Gender Initiative and BIAC’s recently published report, “Putting ALL Our Minds to Work: Harnessing the Gender Dividend,” which was delivered to the OECD in May. The report advocates the business case for women’s economic empowerment and puts forth policy recommendations to further efforts to maximize the benefits of gender diversity. The BIAC report echoes what APEC is advocating through its Policy Partnership on Women in the Economy.
Attendees brought up many ideas/recommendations and areas where more work needed to be done including, but not limited to:
- Skills and capacity building—need for more science and technology education
- Developed vs. developing country divide—access to business and finance training
- Mentoring and sponsorship
- Professional development plans in SMEs
- Sharing information to grow stronger and not to duplicate efforts.
The workshop set a strong precedent for future meetings of the APEC Women in the Economy Forum which is part of APEC’s Policy Partnership on Women in the Economy. We hope that as this work stream evolves and gains momentum going into Indonesia’s host year of 2013, that we will see more private sector engagement across the board. USCIB plans to continue to work with our partners to provide opportunities to engage to our members. We will share an official summary of the workshop with members when available in the coming weeks.
After the workshop, attendees joined USCIB and NCAPEC at a reception where USCIB’s Goldberg provided a welcome address and introduced Lorraine Hariton, the State Department’s special representative for commercial and business affairs. Hariton congratulated the group on a positive and productive session and spoke to the importance of working together to get the message out and share best practices and recommendations to advance women’s role and success in the global economy.
USCIB will work with NCAPEC to hold a de-brief with the State Department early next month to update members on the St. Petersburg meetings and discuss next steps leading to Indonesia as well as further plans for the working group.
Click here to view photos from the reception.
Staff contact: Justine Badimon