Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Lima, Peru, on October 15 and 16. In Peru, she met with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to discuss bilateral and regional cooperation. After her meeting with the President, Secretary Clinton said:
"...The United States and Peru work together on many shared challenges and priorities. We are working together to promote citizen security and to work against the drug traffickers. We are working to support you in your ongoing efforts against the terrorists who have for too long brought violence to too many people throughout Peru. We are working to protect Peru's magnificent environment and cultural treasures. And we are working to support your efforts to spur broad-based development that is as important in the cities as it is in the rural areas.
"To give one example, Peru and the United States are committed to preserving the Amazon Basin. So we are jointly developing a new regional initiative to maintain strong economic growth while also preventing deforestation and reducing carbon emissions. We believe it's important to preserve our resources for future generations and to help more people move from poverty to self-sufficiency; to help families feel safe in their communities and children have the chance to get a good education; to improve all services, such as health care, and to benefit everyone from strong, inclusive democratic institutions that respect human rights and freedom of expression."
While in Peru, Secretary Clinton also participated in an international conference on women's financial inclusion -- "Power: Women as Drivers of Growth and Social Inclusion" -- at which she delivered remarks to the plenary. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton underscored that "restrictions on women's economic participation are costing us massive amounts of economic growth and income in every region of the world" and identified four challenges women face to participate in the economy and to start a business.
"One, women still lack access to the education and business training that every entrepreneur needs," Secretary Clinton said. "Two, women still have more difficulty accessing markets for their products. Three, it is still harder for women to get financing because banks traditionally require credit histories or collateral that most women may not have. And four, women often lack the networks, mentors, and leadership opportunities critical for business success."
Earlier this year at the Summit of the Americas, Secretary Clinton launched the Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas program, or WEAmericas, to take on these barriers one by one. In Peru today, the Secretary announced the Women's Entrepreneurship Trust Fund. Working with the Inter-American Investment Corporation, this new training initiative will help women throughout the region gain the confidence and know-how to achieve their business goals.
As the Secretary concluded her remarks at the conference, she said:
"...[W]e are entering what I like to call the participation age. It's a new era in human history where you can be a poor woman in the Andes or a poor man in Africa, and you can connect to the rest of the world. That connectedness means that every individual now has a chance to contribute to the global marketplace. And so let's use what we now have to make it possible for otherwise marginalized people to contribute in more and better ways. Because in the participation age, we need everybody we can possibly muster to be on the side of peace and prosperity, and I believe it's going to benefit us dramatically.
"So this conference, this commitment to social inclusion, this absolute determination that women in Peru and throughout our region and the world are going to have a seat at the table...is one of the most important jobs facing us all. It's not enough to say we want a future where every person has the equal opportunity to fulfill his or her God-given potential. We have to have a plan for how we get there. So let's recognize these are difficult issues that can only give way with our commitment of time, resources, and attention."
You can read more about the Secretary's trip to Peru here on www.state.gov.