On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cited women as an untapped resource for global economic recovery and growth in her speech before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) during the inaugural High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy in San Francisco, CA. Clinton encouraged members of APEC, including China, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Russia and the Philippines, to end discriminatory practices, for instance restricting women’s access to jobs, capital, and leadership roles, that serve as barriers to women in the global marketplace. The US and 20 APEC member-nations have agreed to participate in efforts to lower barriers against women in the global economy.

Clinton stated, “As information transcends borders and creates opportunities for farmers to bank on mobile phones and children in distant villages to learn remotely, I believe that here, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are entering the Participation Age, where every individual, regardless of gender or other characteristics, is poised to be a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace.”

In her speech,  Clinton cited a study conducted by Goldman Sachs, which found that reducing barriers to female labor force participation would increase America’s GDP by 9 percent, the Euro area by 13 percent and Japan’s GDP by 16 percent.  Moreover, Clinton cited a World Bank study that found by eliminating discrimination against women workers and managers, productivity per worker would grow by 25 to 40 percent.

Another APEC meeting will be held later this year, which President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend.

Huffington Post 9/16/11; Associated Press 9/16/11; Bloomberg 9/16/11

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