Women’s summit calls for greater leadership drive

June 5th, 2008 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Hanoi, June 5 (Xinhua) The 18th Global Summit of Women (GSW), informally called the “Davos for Women” for its economic agenda, opened Thursday in the Vietnamese capital with over 900 participants from 72 countries. GSW president Irene Natividad in her inaugural address said the two most important factors in the 21st century are Asia and women and added: “We break the stereotype that Asian women work, but they don’t lead,” she said.

The theme of the Hanoi summit is “Women and Asia - Driving the Global Economy”,

“The centre of gravity of business has shifted from the West, specifically from Europe and the United States to the East, specifically to the Asia-Pacific region led by China and India,” she further noted.

“It is a structural shift of economic control from men to women, ” she said, adding that in almost every country, women make up half, or almost half, of the workforce, whether in the informal or formal sectors.

Natividad said the summit opens a window to other nations and cultures and welcomed the first participation of Myanmar and Libya.

Women started small businesses at an unprecedented rate, she said, adding that 40.4 percent of small businesses in the United States are owned by women, one-third in Europe and 20 percent in China, 25 percent in Japan.

“Small business is the spine of every economy in the world, and women are driving small businesses everywhere,” said Natividad. “That’s why women are controlling the economy in the future.”

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