Returning from San Francisco where I had the honour to be part of the Canadian delegation attending the first APEC Women in Economy Summit under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Attendees at the Summit were leaders from the public and private sectors from 21 countries, there to discuss the role and issues facing women's participation in the economy.
The theme through the entire Summit was Women's Opportunity is Economic Opportunity and it was summarized in an inspiring speech by Secretary of State Clinton on Friday. Here is a link to her speech http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/09/172605.htm--
The outcome of the Summit was a Declaration about Women in the Economy that will be presented to the APEC CEO Council Summit in November.
The Canadian delegation (26 government and private reps) was very visible and active in the Summit roundtables and events. We also met separately with Minister Rona Ambrose and members of the Canadian Consulate on a number of topics which Minister Ambrose reported about in a speech at the closing Plenary of the Summit.
CanWIT was particularly engaged because several roundtables and many discussions focused on women's in leadership and participation of girls and young women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It was widely recognized that women’s increased role in science and technology was critical to economic success.
Several take-aways for CanWIT from the Summit is an interest by the Canadian Consulate for San Francisco to work with us to organize a mission of women lead technology businesses to Silicon Valley to meet with U.S. tech firms, large and small.
In addition, I had a bilateral meeting with the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Economic, Energy and Business Affairs who expressed great interest in the CanWIT model as a best practice for advancing women in IT that should be showcased at future APEC Women Summits.
All in all a great first step to getting CanWIT on the world stage.