We also know that women often shoulder significant unpaid care responsibilities
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Ministers and officials in the APEC region renewed their commitment to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and to creating conditions that will drive inclusive, effective, and enduring economic growth after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Addressing the significant and disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and girls, ministers, APEC officials, and business leaders pledged to implement policies that will improve women’s access to capital and markets, strengthen women’s labor force participation, increase access to leadership positions and support women’s education, training, and skills development.

Leading the discussion at the 2021 APEC Women and the Economy Forum, which was held virtually, New Zealand Minister for Women Jan Tinetti called attention to how the pandemic has driven many women out of the workforce and negatively affected their well-being, according to a release issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Saturday.

"We know that much of the essential work has been carried out by women, and that they have been crucial to our COVID response—as scientists, healthcare professionals, educators and other essential workers," Minister Tinetti noted.

"We also know that women often shoulder significant unpaid care responsibilities," she added.

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According to the updated APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard, the shift to digital technologies during the pandemic has increased the burden of employed women, who are working from home to shoulder the bulk of domestic tasks and care work.

Hence, Minister Tinetti has urged member economies to join together and take bold, collective actions to minimize the risk of COVID-19, which has set back years of hard-won progress.

Members are united to intensify the collection, analyses, dissemination, and usage of sex-disaggregated data to gain greater clarity on existing barriers and inform about an effective response to backsliding.

"The current challenges present officials with a great opportunity to reset, change the status quo, and enable women and girls to fulfil their potential, for the benefit of all," according to Minister Tinetti, who chaired the forum on Friday (Sept 24).

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"We know our economies stand to gain substantially from achieving our goals for women and girls, including by creating the conditions for greater productivity, prosperity, innovation, and improved quality of life," she affirmed.

Member economies agreed to implement policies that enable and promote women’s participation in the formal economy by addressing gender-based pay gaps and occupational segregation as well as tackling discriminatory legal and regulatory barriers for women entrepreneurs and women-led small businesses.

APEC ministers also pledged to promote work-life balance and equal sharing of unpaid domestic work and care by exploring measures that expand affordable and accessible child and elder care facilities and access to social protection systems.

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APEC members will continue to share best practices incorporating technological and digital solutions, which can improve the ability to manage paid and unpaid work.

"The decisions and responses that we make now can lay the foundation for a stronger future for women and girls and a more resilient, inclusive economy," Tinetti noted.

She also highlighted that while achieving equality is no easy task, gender-responsive policies and approaches are "critical for effective, inclusive and sustainable growth, especially in the wake of the pandemic."

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"Together, we can seize the opportunity before us to address long-standing structural barriers to women’s full and meaningful participation in the economy," Tinetti concluded. (INE)



Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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