Since 1996, APEC has highly emphasized on gender issues through holding related conferences and adopting concrete and significant initiatives.
The Women Leaders' Network (WLN) is an informal network consisting of women in business, government, academia, and civil society from member economies in APEC. It is formed in 1996 and is APEC-related instead of an official forum under APEC. Each of the member economies has a WLN focal point in charge of the interconnection in the network. Its objective is to increase the participation of women in economic development and the cooperation between women entrepreneurs in member economies, devoting to the integration of gender perspectives in APEC's work.
In 1998, the first Ministerial Meeting on Women (MMW) was held in Philippine. It is the first time for international organizations to hold a ministerial meeting to discuss women affairs. Small and Medium enterprises, engineering technology, human resources, and other economical related issues were the focuses of this meeting. The meeting agreed to form the Ad-Hoc Task Force on Women, aiming at the completion of the Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC within one year.
To efficiently implement the Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC, a two-year force, SOM Advisory Group on Gender Integration (AGGI), was set up in October, 1999. Its missions lie in promoting and advocating the content and meaning if the Framework to every fora and meetings in APEC. It also tends to provide suggestions for every fora and meetings to put the Framework into practice, and help them to design more gender-related research or programmes. Meanwhile, every economy has to report its progress in the implementation of the Framework.
With the efforts of AGGI, member economies have solid progress in the framework of gender integration. For instances, the government of Mexico upgraded the National Commission for Women to National Institute for Women in January, 2001; Republic of Korea established Ministry of Gender Equality in January, 2001; as to the Gender Equality Bureau within the Cabinet Office completed a report on Gender Impact Assessment and Evaluation in the end of 2000, and accordingly formed an Expertise Committee to evaluate the influence of the tasks of every ministry and department on the promotion of Japan as a gender equality society.
Later, with the agreement of SOM, AGGI had extended its duration to the end of 2002, and then Gender Focal Point Network (GFPN) was formed in 2003 to follow the work of gender integration. The network is composed with the Economy Gender Focal Point assigned by each member economy, the Fora Gender Focal Point assigned by each fora, and a Gender Integration Program Director assigned by APEC Secretariat. GFPN meeting is held annually to offer a working report to SOM and to assist every fora to implement the Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC. Up to the present, GFPN is the coordinating agency for the Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC.
Further Details about GFPN are available at http://www.gfpn.org/