Women Leaders’ Network Meeting La Serena, Chile, September 28 - October 1, 2004


1. We, the Women Leaders Network from APEC Economies, came together in La Serena, Chile September 28 - October 1, 2004, to reaffirm our commitment to the work advanced by the Leaders from previous meetings and to the continued and consistent integration of women and gender issues throughout the APEC processes and structures.

2. We re-emphasize the vital contribution of women in all sectors to all APEC economies. Continued investment in the advancement of women and girls will benefit all APEC economies.

3. In supporting this year's theme of 'One Community, Our Future', and the SME Ministerial Meeting's theme of "Entrepreneurship", WLN has addressed the following sub-themes from a gender perspective: experiencing our diversity; a commitment to development through trade, sharing the benefits through best practices, and skills for new challenges.

We wish to build upon:

4. The past recommendations of the WLN Meetings to Leaders and Ministers, the work of the Gender Focal Point Network and the APEC spirit of cooperation expressed in the Seattle Vision, the Bogor Dedaration and the Osaka Action Agenda; and,

5. Commitments made to women entrepreneurs at the 2004 OECD Ministenal Meeting for Ministers Responsible for SME's which was attended by many representatives of APEC economies.

We applaud:

6. APEC for taking steps to implement its commitment to gender integration and the role of women in APEC and for continuing to support the active involvement ofWLN at the SME Ministerial meeting.

The Women Leaders Netvork

7. The Women Leaders Network is a dynamic and flexible regional network composed of women ready to contribute to APEC's vision of equitable and sustainable growth. It consists of women each of whom is a leader in o­ne or more fields and who has made significant contributions to her economy and society. The unique nature of this network is its diversity in that it encompasses women in business, government, academia, civil society, indigenous women and rural women.

8. Launched in 1996 in Manila, the network facilitates the integration of gender perspectives into the APEC agenda. It makes annual recommendations to Leaders and Ministers and functions as a valuable source of advice to APEC leadership. It actively participatẹs in APEC activities, and the Gender Focal Point Network, and provides expertise in a number of APEC fora.

9. WLN generates, consolidates, disseminates, promotes and applies gender-relevant information and knowledge such as, in this 9th Meeting, providing information to increase general awareness o­n HIV/AIDS and its economic impact in the APEC region, particularly how it affects women and its consequences. It shares best practices and lessons learned, mentors women across APEC, and promotes sound policies that address the special concerns of women. It serves as a catalyst to raise awareness and build strategic alliances to ensure the relevance of APEC's agenda to women, and serves as a model of international multi-sectoral partnerships.


Recognizing the important contribution of women to society and the economy and recognizing that trade agendas and economic and development policies affect the lives and well-being of women, WLN makes the following recommẹndations to SME Ministers, so that through their leadership, we may attain:


WLN is a public-private informal network of women of all sectors of the APEC economies that plays an important role by contributing women leaders' perspectives and expertise into APEC.

+ Because of this critical contribution, WLN needs formal recognition and basic administrative support from the APEC Secretariat.


In order to facilitate the fomulation of informed policy decisions within the region. we recommend to SME Ministers to support WLN's request for:

- To place a high priority o­n the collection and use of sex-disaggregated data o­n women' s participation in trade, SMEs and MEs in the APEC economies,

- To encourage APEC economies to collaborate and participate in research projects and studies, including a project o­n e-biz/commerce and cyber-business, as well as o­n-going research.


In order to create a more enabling policy and legal environment to strengthen women's entrepreneurship in SMEs and MEs, WLN's requests the SME Ministers' support for the following recommendations:

- To recognize the unique needs of the ME sector and continue promoting microenterprise as a productive economic activity

- To recognize that ME is a unique sector of the economy, ensure that delegates appointed to the MESG have microenterprise-specific expertise

- To support a collaborative project with the WLN and the MESG for 2005 in celebration of the UN year of microcredit

- To formulate and implement policies that promote the development of women- managed SMEs and the sharing of Best Practices across APEC, and invite SME representatives to participate in the SMEWG and Ministerial meetings

- To recognize that Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging form of entrepreneurship, and promote the development of this sector

- To facilitate the development and advancement of business development services for MEs in the APEC region



Economic integration is a crucial element to the future ofthe APEC region. Increased trade negotiations at the bi-lateral, regional and WTO levels do not usually take into account the particular effect that trade policy may have o­n women. To address this lack, WLN recommends that SME Ministers support WLN's request for:

+ Guest status for WLN within the Committee o­n Trade and Investment (CTI)

+ Endorsement and financial support for research o­n women in trade

+ Incorporation in policy formulation and implementation of the results of studies and research o­n women in trade

+ Including women in the planning of the implementation of standard trade practices throughout the APEC region.


In an increasingly complex world, it is necessary that all women throughout APEC have affordable and equal access to skills development, education, technology and innovation to ensure that they are equal partners in their economy and throughout APEC, WLN recommends the SME Ministers to support WLN's request:

- To create the conditions to reduce the digital divide by facilitating economic and technical resources for women-specific programs of technical skills and digital literacy, with particular attention to programs for working women and indigenous peoples.

- To actively support the APEC project "Initiative for APEC Women's Participation in the Digital Economy"

- To strengthen women's business literacy at all levels