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Women’s Economic Empowerment Essential to Improving Poor Communities

by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby

Today Central Bank Governors,financial inclusion stakeholders from around the Pacific, and other delegates gathered in Port Moresby for the 10th Financial Inclusion Innovation Summit.

The three-day event is hosted by the Bank of Papua New Guinea where delegates access innovations, discuss and exchange knowledge from the financial sector and network in order to come up with efficient and sustainable systems to deliver financial services throughout the Pacific region.

Delivering her keynote address this morning to an audience of over 150 people, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, highlighted the importance of women driving communities forward.

“Women’s economic empowerment – particularly for the most marginalised women in our society – is so critical to supporting the most impoverished in our societies.”

Dame Meg Taylor also spoke highly of the PNG Women in Business for supporting women in need of basic financial service and brings to light the contribution of women towards economic growth, as well as other development efforts.

She urged the cooperation of everyone in making finance readily available, particularly with regard to women in rural communities, saying we must “continue to do more”.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 2012, the entry of women into the workforce helped propel most of the world’s developed economies, in the second half of the 20th century. If women in developing nations can be properly educated, equipped and empowered, they can make similar impacts as those in the developed world.

“Women’s economic empowerment will drive poverty alleviation in this country and across this region, and so we must find effective ways to increase women’s access to finance.”

Dame Meg is a firm believer of economic empowerment for women. On International Women’s Day this year, she also affirmed this.

“I believe the key to sustainable and resilient development for our communities is the economic empowerment of our women,” she said. “The flow on effects are enormous. Increased female labour force participation leads to faster economic growth.”

“We must enable the ‘mamas’ across this region to fully exploit their development potential.”

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), women’s work, both paid and unpaid, may be the single most important poverty-reducing factor in developing economies.

Dame Meg finally concluded urging participants to take on their tasks with energy keeping in mind that they are contributing to the welfare of the people.

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