Ministers and officials of the The APEC region renewed its commitment to gender equality and the economic empowerment of women and the creation of conditions that will foster inclusive, efficient and sustainable economic growth after the end of the COVID pandemic.
Faced with the large and disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and girls, ministers, government officials and business leaders committed to implementing policies that will improve women’s access to capital and markets , strengthen women’s participation in the labor market, increase access to managerial positions and support women’s education, training and skills development.
Leading discussions at the APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which was held virtually, New Zealand Minister for Women Jan Tinetti called attention to how the pandemic pushed many women out of the workforce and negatively affected their well-being.
“We know that much of the essential work has been done by women and that they have been crucial to our response to COVID, as scientists, health professionals, educators and other essential workers,” said the Minister Tinetti. “We also know that women often take on important unpaid family responsibilities.
According to the update APEC Women and Economy Dashboard, the shift to digital technologies during the pandemic has increased the burden on female employees who work from home to take on most of the household chores and care.
Related: Economic opportunities for women in APEC improve, but persistent gender biases hold back progress
Minister Tinetti urged member economies to unite and take bold collective action to minimize the risk of COVID-19, which has set back years of hard-earned progress. Members are united in stepping up the collection, analysis, dissemination and use of sex-disaggregated data to gain more clarity on existing barriers and inform an effective response to the rollback.
“The current challenges provide a great opportunity for officials to reset, change the status quo and enable women and girls to realize their potential, for the good of all,” added Minister Tinetti, who chaired the forum on Friday. . “We know that our economies stand to gain from achieving our goals for women and girls, including creating the conditions for increased productivity, prosperity, innovation and quality of life. .
Member economies have agreed to implement policies that enable and promote women’s participation in the formal economy by addressing gender pay gaps and occupational segregation, as well as addressing barriers discriminatory laws and regulations for women entrepreneurs and small businesses run by women.
Ministers also pledged to promote work-life balance and the equal sharing of unpaid work and domestic care by exploring measures that expand affordable and accessible child and elderly care and access to social protection systems. Members will continue to share best practices integrating technological and digital solutions, which can improve the ability to manage paid and unpaid work.
“The decisions and responses we take now can lay the foundation for a stronger future for women and girls, and a more resilient and inclusive economy,” said Minister Tinetti.
Minister Tinetti stressed that while achieving equality is not an easy task, gender-responsive policies and approaches are “essential for effective, inclusive and sustainable growth, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Together, we can seize the opportunity before us to remove long-standing structural barriers to the full and meaningful participation of women in the economy,” Minister Tinetti concluded.
Click to read the statement from the APEC Women and Economy Forum