Global Summit of Women Begins in South Korea

Women leaders from around the world convened in Seoul, South Korea last week for a three-day summit on increasing the economic power of women worldwide. Organized by GlobalWomen.com, a US non-profit linking women in business globally, over 800 women from 84 countries are taking part in the summit, including businesswomen, government leaders, and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), according to The Korea Herald.

“We are the majority of consumers, workers, [and] micro entrepreneurs, so we are the key stakeholders in the world’s economy,” said Irene Natividad, president of the Summit and the first Asian American to head a national political organization, according to the Herald. “We are coming to Korea to É [help] accelerate women’s economic progress.”

Summit participants discussed a recent report comparing the number of high-ranking female government officials in 195 countries. The report found that despite a slight overall increase in the number of women elected into world governments in 2004, women still only represent 11.3 percent of minister-level government officials around the world, according to the Korea Times. The Asia-Pacific region has the lowest percentage gain.

Natividad stressed that women’s advancement into the political arena is essential to promoting women’s status worldwide. “One woman minister can affect thousands,” she told the Times. “One woman minister can ensure women are open to all occupations. One woman makes a difference.”

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The Korea Times 5/27/04; The Korea Herald 5/27/04

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