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         As to the integration of women into the economy, the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau established in 1920 should be highly emphasized.  It is the only federal agency aims at integrating working women’s needs into the policy-making process.  For instance, "negro women in industry", "older women as office workers", “contingent workers” and “nonstandard hour child care options” had all been its focused issues.  The inclusion of women under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the active involvement of the endorsement of Equal Pay Act of 1963, the advocacy of employer-sponsored child care, the establishment of a multi-media Work and Family Clearinghouse in 1989, and the efforts on the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 were the examples of its well-known accomplishments.  For the 21st Century working women, the agency emphasizes on the cultivation of new female workforce in careers in science, engineering, and technology, and help women build their capacity, facilitate their working conditions, or plan their life schedules through the internet.  Further information is available at 

         In addition, the United States is the cosponsor of a significant plan within APEC: collect and analyze sex-disaggregated economic data.  Some statistics offered by the Census Bureau in US provided a simple sketch for women in the US economy.  In 2000, women composed of almost half (45%) of all executives and managers; about 28% of all U.S. medical doctors are female; over 9.1million women are business owners in the US in 2002, and their sales total over 1 trillion dollars with about 100,000 firms owned by women.  Moreover, the women-owned businesses have grown about 14% in number over the past five years, and the growth rate of their employment (30%) in the same period was more than 1.54 times higher than the rate of men-owned businesses.  These statistics suggest that self –employment should be a favorable economic option for women, and the US government thus considers microfinance as one of the key tools to facilitate and encourage this trend.
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