Sec. Clinton Calls For G20 To Address Gender Issues

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday voiced her “support for the inclusion of women’s issues on the agenda of the G20 Seoul Summit slated for Thursday and Friday in a video message to a parliamentary seminar” on the issue held in Korea, the Korea Times reports.

“Women’s lack of economic participation is due largely to obstacles that impede their potential, which has been estimated by a U.N. agency to cost the Asia-Pacific region between $42 [billion] and $46 billion in lost gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Department of State,” the newspaper writes. “Numerous studies found that investment in women not only yields higher growth outcomes and better returns, but their economic participation promotes enterprise development at both the micro and small- and medium-enterprise levels.

“In the words of World Bank President Robert Zoellick, ‘gender equality means smart economics,’ which is a reason why Clinton and various women’s groups are calling for leaders of the world’s major economies to discuss gender inequality at the G20 summit,” the newspaper continues.

During her remarks, “Clinton stressed that, for many women, the financial tools to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, or to take small businesses to the next level are still out of reach,” the Korea Times writes. “We know that when women are accorded equal rights and afforded equal opportunities, they drive social and economic progress,” Clinton said, pointing to the recent success of micro-finance programs which support women around the world, according to the newspaper.

“According to Rep. Shin Nakyun of the main opposition Democratic Party, who hosted the forum, gender issues will not be adopted as a separate agenda item, but likely be discussed at the G20 summit for the first time as part of the ‘development issues,’ a major agenda item that Korea has proposed,” the Korea Times writes. Shin “citing a recent report from McKinsey earlier this year, … claimed that women who earn income are especially powerful catalysts for development because they invest more of their money into health, education, and the well-being of their families,” according to the article, which also includes quotes from the CEO of Goldman Sachs and Shannon Atkeson, a senior official of the World Banks’ International Finance Corporation (Tae-hoon, 11/9).

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