Thursday, August 1, 2019

A New Page for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Growth at APEC in 2019

Ting Yu Lin
Assistant Research Fellow, Division of International Affairs, TIER

    As Chile being the APEC host this year, with the theme “Connecting People, Building the Future,” they emphasize women and inclusive growth as one of four priorities. With gender equity is central to economic and social development in mind, it can be easily predict that equal opportunity for women and men supports economic growth and helps to reduce poverty. APEC thus aims to increase women's empowerment, to help women realize their potential, and to push for regional economic integration. Therefore, APEC has been advocated women’s economic empowerment for a long time. One of the most significant outcomes was the San Francisco Declaration announced in 2011, which was predominantly focused on 5 pillars that would promote woman’s access to finance, education, training, employment, technology, and health systems. In details, the declaration identified
women’s access to financial capital, market access, skills and capacity building, and women's leadership as pillars of a gender mainstreaming approach.

    This year, for the outcome expected from Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), Chile wish to develop a “Santiago Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth.” It purposes to fully support women’s economic empowerment in the digital society. Not only does the Roadmap reemphasize 5 pillar approaches mentioned in the San Francisco Declaration, but also highlight women´s labor force participation, bridge the digital literacy gender gap as well as advance women’s
economic empowerment through data. This roadmap reflects Chile's promotion of plans for connectivity and structural reforms that can further regional cooperation on the core goal of inclusive and sustainable growth. It can be considered as an effective way to coordinate each economies’ efforts on women’s empowerment and increasing women’s economic participation.

Since 2017, Taiwan jointed with the US and Australia to launch the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-fund. The establishment of this sub-fund further demonstrates the lead that Taiwan is taking on gender mainstreaming and women economy. Aside from its promotion of the issue of gender mainstreaming within APEC, Taiwan also has plenty of room for progress on women's economic
empowerment, women's education, and women's inclusion in workplace.

    The deliverables this year aim to achieve in APEC show that inclusive growth has already become a key focus of economic cooperation among APEC economies. The importance of “Strengthening Women´s Labor Force Participation” is more of our focus now in Taiwan, particularly promoting women’s economic engagement in nontraditional sectors. Many nontraditional sectors now encourage women’s contribution, such as agriculture, energy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related occupations. In this regard, governments need to reduce gender segregation in the labor market by helping women expand their skills and by securing equal pay for equal effort. Furthermore, stressing gender equality and challenging existing social and gender norms will encourage both girls and boys to enter nontraditional fields.

    This year, Taiwan puts a lot of efforts on supporting two particular nontraditional sectors, namely agriculture and energy. In previous years we have continued to implement a series of Gendered Innovation for Technology and Science (GIFTS) projects, to increase the number of women in non-traditional sectors. The GIFTS projects have revealed outstanding performance by women participating in the creative industry, smart agriculture and STEM. Further, we encourage women’s participation in the innovative green economy through developing agricultural science and its concomitant technologies.

    Therefore, APEC GIFTS A+ is the following project which lead by Taiwan, co-sponsor with Chile and the Philippines. The project mainly identifies the challenges female farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs faced in smart agriculture and explore opportunities in APEC region. Moreover, it encourages women and women-led MSMEs in the APEC region to participate in the field of inclusive and innovative agriculture. It is also aim to promote gendered innovation in development of agricultural science and technology, facilities and the environment to help women remove barriers and increase their productivity in agriculture.

    Finally, the project wish to utilize the use of gendered innovation approaches to enhance women's participation in the digital and innovative green economy to promote sustainable, inclusive growth and food security. The APEC GIFTS A+ project would be an approach to carry out physical, institutional and peopleto-people connectivity through innovative technology and cross-fora projects.
A policy toolkit will be produced in three languages, which can help APEC economies develop gender approaches and strategies in fulfilling women’s role in non-traditional sectors, particularly in agriculture, and to seize their opportunities in digital economy.

    As the energy industry being our second focused nontraditional sector this year, we will hold a workshop in August to explore women’s untapped potential and promote women’s involvement in the workforce. We aim to identify new implications for regional energy policy and conduct joint research through stimulating cross-fora dialogue between experts on energy and gender issues. We encourage sectors that are not usually female included conduct such projects to recruit more talented than gender-oriented.

    “Santiago Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth” can be seen as a dashboard in the development of women’s economic empowerment, in which it brings women’s economic participation into another phase where the increase of inclusive growth can be well acknowledged in several different perspectives with the transformation in digital society.


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