In her opening remark, Hoang Thi Thu Huyen, Deputy Director of the Gender Equality Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) who is also PPWE Chair 2017, said 21 APEC economies are currently employing around 600 million women as part of their workforce, with more than 60% working in the formal sector, contributing up to US$89 billion annually to APEC.
APEC leaders have continously recognised women’s immense contributions to socio-economic development and have maintained support to further mainstream gender equality and women’s economic empowerment across APEC work streams, she said.
However, Huyen noted that women’s potential has not been fully actualised to make more contributions to the region.
Therefore, APEC economies are working to remove barriers and obstacles encourtered by women, she said, adding that this is the goal being realised through the efforts and leadership of the PPWE.
The meeting aims to ensure the realisation of PPWE outcomes from 2016 and make recommendations on necessary interventions to remove barriers faced by women in the coming time, Huyen stressed.
Addressing the function, MoLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep applauded the role played by the PPWE over the past ten years in reflecting the importance of women in the economy with greater role, position and more concrete activities.
The PPWE has contributed to a closer relationship between the public sector and private sector, as well as to better mainstreaming of policies, programmes on women’s economic empowerment in APEC activities and fora, he said.
However, more need to be done in order to make APEC cooperation more practical and beneficial to all women to ensure that no woman is left behind the social and economic growth, and women can contribute to the economic development of APEC economies, he stressed.
Diep expressed his belief that the two-day meeting will be very successful for achievement of its expected outcomes including the discussion of next steps to continue implementing effectively the PPWE Strategic Plan 2015-2018, development of the basic outline of the Guideline on Gender Mainstreaming in APEC as well as the development of the draft Ministerial Statement of the Women and the Economy Forum 2017 which will be held in the central city of Hue in September this year.