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Women Leaders Discuss Economy at APEC Meeting

(WLN) Meeting opened Wednesday in Beijing. Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a congratulatory message to the meeting.

Gu Xiulian, vice-president and First Member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) hosted the opening ceremony. More than 400 female entrepreneurs, scholars and government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations from all 21 APEC member economies attended the meeting.

In the message, Jiang extended congratulations to the meeting on behalf of the Chinese government, Chinese people and himself.

He noted that the 21st century is full of opportunities and challenges. For realization of world peace, development and prosperity, women from Asia and the Pacific have come together, facing up to challenges courageously. Women from the APEC region have taken the initiative to actively involve themselves in related development and cooperative activities of APEC and have made important contributions to the sustainable economic development of the region.

Jiang said he believes that women, through their active participation in international cooperation, will surely promote their mutual understanding, deepen their friendship, obtain more experiences and professional skills, and play a greater role in the development of the world economy.

State Councilor Wu Yi, who is also director of the Women and Children Work Committee of the State Council, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.

She said that women, as a major force in social productions, are confronted with more severe challenges in the wave of economic globalization. The APEC has undertaken initiatives to promote the development of women's human resources and to safeguard the right of women to participate in economic affairs. The WLN has been an important forum for the promotion of gender equality in all APEC economies, and for exchanges and partnerships among APEC women.

The Chinese Government gives great importance to the advancement of women, and has set equality between men and women as a basic State policy in China's social development.

In May this year, the State Council promulgated and began to implement the Program for the Development of Chinese Women (2001- 2010), with the basic State policy of equality between men and women, an important thought put forward by President Jiang Zemin, written into the general objectives of the Program, which once again indicates the efforts by the Chinese Government for the subsistence and development of Chinese women and its determination for women's equal participation in decision-making and economic development, she said.

She said she believes that in the new century, cooperation and common development, the spirits advocated by APEC, will be developed and be carried forward, and that the WLN Meeting 2001 and its results will be a great contribution to the further cooperation between APEC economies and to the economic development of the APEC region.

Peng Peiyun, vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and president of the ACWF said during the opening ceremony that the development of Chinese women is an integral part of the development of women in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is of great significance that women leaders, women entrepreneurs, women experts, women from the academia and representatives from non-governmental organizations have come together in Beijing today to share ideas and views on challenges and opportunities that APEC women face in the process of economic globalization, to identify measures to promote women's participation in economic and social development and the integration of women in the mainstream of APEC processes and activities.

Patricia Espinosa Torres, President of the National Institute of Women of Mexico, Datin Hjh Edah Hi Mohd Noor, President of the Council of Women of Brunei Darussalam, and Sue Hooper, Director of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada all expressed their best wishes for the meeting in their speeches.

The three-day meeting is another great event among women since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995. With the theme "Challenges and Opportunities for APEC Women in the Process of Economic Globalization," the participants will discuss four main topics women entrepreneurs and world markets, partnership with women-managed small and medium-sized enterprises, women's role in science, technology and sustainable development, and gender mainstreaming in the APEC process and activities.

The meeting will adopt a Statement and Recommendations as a result which will be submitted to the 8th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting, and then submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to be held in October in Shanghai.

The WLN meeting is a flexible network of women, and the annual meetings have been convened since 1996.

(People's Daily 08/22/2001)

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