The Australian Government has taken its commitment to advancing gender equality to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Forum in St Petersburg, Russia.
The Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins, representing the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins MP, is leading an Australian delegation at the forum.
“The forum is an opportunity to focus on the role women play in the economies of our region and what we can do to remove the barriers to women’s economic potential,” Minister Collins said.
“This is the only APEC forum dedicated to gender issues and the Australian delegation will take part in the development of a set of recommendations on actions APEC can take to enhance economic participation of women in the Asia-Pacific.”
In her address to the forum this afternoon (Australian time), Senator Jacinta Collins said diversity in the workplace was good for businesses, employees and the economy.
“Central to a strong economy is the quantity and quality of its workforce - and quality is strengthened through investment in diversity,” Senator Collins said.
“A strong economy has to be underpinned by a robust legal framework, by investment in skills education and training for women and girls, by supporting women in employment and in business and by providing infrastructure to enable women and girls to achieve their full potential.
“Gender equality is not only a fundamental condition for the full enjoyment of human rights, it is also necessary for economies to grow and prosper.
“All economies have much to learn and unique lessons to share and we all benefit from engagement and shared goodwill. Participation in forums such as this is vitally important,” Senator Collins said.
The Australian delegation includes four self-funded representatives from the business community:
- Yolanda Vega, CEO of Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Lynette Mayne, Council Member of Chief Executive Women and Owner and Executive Chair of Work Wear World;
- Carol Margaret Hanlon, Founder and Manager of Belmont Business Enterprise Centre and Textile Clothing Footwear Resource Centre; and
- Susan Jones - Asia-Pacific Coordinator for Business and Professional Women International