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Clinton on Women as a Vital Source of Growth for our Economy

September 25, 2011

“Reductions in barriers to female labor force participation would increase America’s GDP by 9 percent, the Euro Zone’s by 13 percent, and Japan’s by 16 percent,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on September 16th. She spoke at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Summit, held in San Francisco.

“We need to unlock a vital source of growth that can power our economies in the decades to come. That vital source of growth is women,” she said.

She outlined a comprehensive strategy to achieve economic expansion – and I hope stability. Changes in structures, behaviors, and the consciousness of business and government in all countries are needed to unlock and welcome women’s leadership around the world.

Paolo Gianturco, author of Celebrating Women, summarized the event in Womensenews this week: “The women’s conference participants, including Clinton and ministers and delegates from 21 countries in Asia and the Americas, endorsed the San Francisco Declaration which lays out how to dismantle barriers to women in the workforce. It sets commitments for providing female entrepreneurs with access to capital; for reforming legal and regulatory systems so women can access the full range of financial services; for improving women’s access to markets and for supporting the rise of female leaders in the public and private sectors.”

Clinton continued, “Unlocking the potential of women by narrowing the gender gap could lead to a 14-percent rise in per capita income by the year 2020 in several APEC economies including China, Russia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam and Korea.”

The agreement is a run-up to APEC’s meeting in November in Honolulu.

This is good news. I consider it a personal assignment for each of us to look for ways to make change in our communities. What is in the way? What needs to change in policies, systems, or the way people behave for women to be the key to helping the global economy recover and expand?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your best ideas.

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