Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri urges investment in women’s entrepreneurship at the She Means Business Forum in Viet Nam
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri starts today a visit to Viet Nam to participate in the “Women Entrepreneurs Forum: She Means Business”, which is part of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy, in Hue.
The conference is convening 500 delegates from 21 APEC member economies, looking to enhance women’s integration and economic empowerment in a changing world of work. The Forum will focus on promoting gender equality for inclusive economic growth, improving the competitiveness and creativeness of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises owned by women, and narrowing the gender gap in human resources development.
Ms. Puri will provide a keynote speech, urging action and investment to accelerate progress on women’s entrepreneurship and examining the systematic and structural barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy.
As a regional entity comprised of diverse economies, APEC has seen proactive efforts from its members towards bolstering women’s economic empowerment. However, the level of progress varies, and many countries continue to face gender challenges. For example, as much as 75 per cent  or more women are engaged in informal employment in APEC countries, which is often a vulnerable sector with lack of access to social protection. Only a handful of APEC countries have more than 50 per cent  of firms with female ownership and/or leadership. A UN Women report in 2012 has shown that limits on women’s participation in the workforce across the Asia-Pacific region cost the economy an estimated USD 89 billion every year. Experts around the world have shown how entrepreneurship fuels the creation of decent jobs and builds wealth. For instance, if women started successful growth-oriented businesses at the same rate as men, it is estimated that 74 million  more jobs could be created in China.
The Deputy Executive Director will draw attention to the three main criteria to assess women’s economic empowerment, which can be used to guide efforts in deepening political and financial investment in women’s economic empowerment; she will also call for concrete actions to be included in the 2017 APEC Ministerial Declaration to ensure women's right to decent work and full and productive employment.
During the visit Ms. Puri will hold bilateral meetings with Mr. Dao Ngoc Dung, Minister of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam, as well as the Chair of Hue Provincial People’s Committee, to strengthen collaboration with the Government and civil society groups in the pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In a keynote speech delivered to the “Women Entrepreneurs Forum: She Means Business”, which was part of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri urged for action to facilitate progress on women’s entrepreneurship in the region, and globally. Read the press release»
Gender equality and women’s empowerment is—today and forever—the most promising, untapped and highest return area of investment,” said Ms. Lakshmi Puri, to an audience of 21 APEC member economies. Read her full speech»
On 28 September, during her visit to Viet Nam, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Ms Lakshmi Puri had a bilateral meeting with Minister of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs, Dao Ngoc Dung to strengthen the partnership between UN Women and the Government of Viet Nam in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.
 Estimates calculated using World Bank Gender Statistics
 Estimates for available countries are by the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard Research team based on data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and United Nations Population Division for 2010–2012. For a detailed discussion of the methodology, please refer to the methodology discussion section available at www.dell.com/ gwelscorecard.