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November 9, 2021

Fact Sheet – Women’s Economic Empowerment in APEC: Reflecting on a Decade of Impact


Since the United States last hosted APEC in 2011, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members have worked over the last decade to elevate women’s economic empowerment as a driver of inclusive economic growth.  APEC economies have expanded women’s economic participation and opportunities across the region, including through increasing women’s access to capital and assets; improving access to markets; advancing women’s skills, capacity, and health; cultivating women’s leadership, voice, and agency; and enhancing innovation and technology.  These efforts culminated in APEC endorsing the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth (2019-2030)  to provide direction for APEC to drive greater women’s economic empowerment and sustainable economic growth.  The United States has been a champion for supporting and expanding women’s economic empowerment in the region through numerous multi-year APEC initiatives, and our leadership will continue in APEC as we implement the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality .  The United States helped launch the Women and the Economy sub-fund in 2017 which has supported 21 projects to support women’s economic participation and health since its inception.  We have been a consistent supporter to the sub-fund, to ensure it remains a resource for economies to support increased women’s economic participation in APEC.

Improving Economic Security and Accelerating Economic Growth

  • The United States leads the APEC Women-Owned Business in Cross-Border E-Commerce workstream, which tackles both the enabling environment and cross-border specific challenges women’s micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) face in utilizing e-commerce platforms.  The United States published the APEC Women-Owned Business in Cross-Border E-Commerce Diagnostic Toolkit , which offers policymakers a way to identify gaps and develop policy solutions to address key barriers faced by women entrepreneurs.
  • In partnership with Australia, the United States created the Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC)  initiative to support women-owned enterprises across APEC’s 21 economies.
  • The APEC Women in Transportation (WiT) initiative, launched by the United States in 2011, focuses on the critical role that mobility plays in women’s economic empowerment and promotes women’s access to transportation careers. The United States developed the APEC Women in Transportation Data Framework and Best Practices Report  and an updated compendium .  Moving forward, WiT will address the role of new transportation technologies to improve women’s access to mobility, ensuring passenger modes of travel are safe, affordable, and desirable modes of travel for women, and working to minimize the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on women’s careers in the transport sector.

Expanding the Use of Gender-Disaggregated Data

  • As a champion economy, the United States was a leader in establishing the APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard .  Comprised of 95 quantitative indicators, the Dashboard was pivotal as APEC became one of the first global economic forums to prioritize gender-disaggregated data.
  • Since its endorsement in 2015, the Dashboard has been updated and republished three times, including most recently in September 2021.

Advancing Gender Equality Under the Law

  • The United States is partnering with New Zealand to improve the legal and regulatory environment for women.  As part of this multi-year effort, the United States published the APEC Women at Work brief  to examine how laws and regulations limit or enable women to enter, remain, and advance in the formal workforce in the APEC region.

Closing Gender Gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields

  • The United States is leading efforts to advance women and girls’ integration into STEM fields, from their journey in early education through leadership and entrepreneurship.  To launch these efforts, the United States led APEC’s work on the APEC Women in STEM: A Framework for Dialogue, Learning, and Action .
  • Building on the Framework, the United States published the APEC Women in STEM: A Focus on Entrepreneurship , which provides clear business and economic cases that should be considered when making policy to support economic progress.
  • The United States worked with APEC economies and academic and private sector partners from across the region to create the APEC Women in STEM Principles and Actions , which provide governments and businesses key actions to encourage women and girls to advance in STEM fields.

Protecting, Improving, and Expanding Access to Health Care

  • Understanding that women across the APEC region continue to face health-related barriers to entering, remaining, and advancing in the workforce, the United States published the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Literature Review , accompanying policy toolkit , and adapted SME toolkit .
  • The United States published the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies business case  to encourage private sector partners to implement the Policy Toolkit, as well as the economic case for governments to implement reforms to improve women’s health.
  • The United States developed the monitoring and evaluation framework  to provide stakeholders with guidelines and ideas on how to measure, track, and report progress in implementing actions under the Policy Toolkit.