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30/09/2017 - 13:15

Gender equality is at the center of economic development and human resources

On September 29th, the fourth and final working day of the APEC Women and the Economic 2017 Forum that took place in Hue, members of the 21 APEC economies met to discuss the agenda of the high-level policy dialogue on women and the economy.

Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung speaks at the forum

Many important contributions

At the forum, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung thanked the delegates for their support and valuable contributions to the Forum for Women and the Economy in particular and APEC Vietnam 2017 in general. At the same time, the Minister applauded the tireless efforts of the Women and Economic Partnership Group. Especially in the past days, they have devoted the strength and wisdom so that today we have important documents on the agenda.

The 21 members of APEC economies wish through this dialogue to continue to assert that gender equality is at the center of economic development and human resources.​

Welcoming the initiatives and projects of economies with more gender mainstreaming practices in different areas of APEC is a clear demonstration that the Partnership for Women and the Economy is very efficient.

Minister Dao Ngoc Dung reiterated the 2009 Joint Declaration, which for the first time, confirmed that APEC leaders would promote inclusive growth and take measures to increase women's access to education, training, finance, technology, and infrastructure to maximize the economic opportunities of women. Nearly 30 years since its founding, APEC has now affirmed its role as the largest economic-trade cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, APEC affirmed that gender equality is at the center of economic development and human resources.

A panorama view of the forum

The integration and empowerment of women have had a positive and important chain effect on the region. Reports show that many APEC economies have succeeded in significantly reducing inequality in income and non-income matters through the integration of improved socio-economic policies. Hence, inclusive growth and sustainable development are the general trends that APEC economies have been aiming for.

Attention paid towards resources and accessibility

Ted Osius, US Ambassador in Vietnam attends the forum

"Despite certain successes, we have to acknowledge the fact that there are significant differences in employment and income opportunities between women and men groups. The differences are not only the difference in the number of employed men and women, but also the gender-based forms of occupational discrimination and discrimination in the way they are treated," Minister Dao Ngoc Dung shared.

In the context of global integration and enhancing international competitiveness, investment in skills and productivity for female workers should be seen as one of the priorities of policy-making. Women account for the majority of the total unpaid family workforce, especially in the agricultural sector and have limited access to development resources.

The Minister hopes APEC economies will pay more attention to investing in infrastructure and public services, as this will reduce and redistribute housework and unpaid care that women do. These measures require governments and businesses to supplement their investment budgets.

Along with financial investments, improvements in access to infrastructure for women and girls are also needed. Research in many economies shows that by investing only 2% of GDP in care services, especially in social services and child care, the number of jobs will increase by between 2.4 and 6.1%. Henceforward, much of the work created can be done by women, reducing the gender gap in employment. These policies will promote employment in general and economic growth in particular.

Delegates attending the forum

Similar to many economies in APEC which are facing economic slowdown, Vietnam is in urgent need to promote economic reforms and to continue to ensure economic and social progress. Strategies to promote inclusive and sustainable growth will be key to our actions to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and promote environmentally friendly development. It also requires a better national governance, capable of providing services and allocating resources fairly.

On the last day of the APEC Economic and the Women 2017 Forum, members of the 21 APEC economies adopted a Declaration on Enhancing Integration and Empowerment of Women in a Changing World. It is hoped that the implementation of this Declaration will build a more innovative APEC for women as well as girls, or any citizen, so that no one is left behind.

Story, photos, clips: Phong Binh - Le Thao