This week, policymakers and businesswomen from the 21 member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization (APEC) are discussing how to promote women's entrepreneurship. As a representative from the Office of Global Women's Issues wrote this week, “In a time of ongoing economic uncertainty, one thing is sure: entrepreneurs and small businesses represent critical sources of economic growth and innovation.”
According to a UN report, Asia-Pacific economies are losing an estimated USD 42-46 billion annually due to the lack of women in the workforce. Women's economic under-participation can result from many reasons -- social and logistical barriers such as prejudice, stereotypes, or lack of childcare can reduce their rate of employment; as can legal, educational, and other inequalities; fears of harassment or violence, and more.
How can the APEC countries best develop the untapped potential of women to contribute to their nations' economies?