Opening of Central Asia and Afghanistan Women's Economic Symposium

Press Statement
Heide Bronke Fulton
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 19, 2011

Yesterday in Bishkek, Assistant Secretary Robert O. Blake and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer welcomed over 200 women entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators and civil society leaders from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to the three-day Strategies for Success: Central Asia and Afghanistan Women’s Economic Symposium. In a  video statement to the participants, Secretary Clinton encouraged growth of an expanding partnership network, also affirming that “investing in girls and women spurs economic growth and helps create stable and prosperous societies.” Kyrgyz Republic President Roza Otunbayeva provided an opening address that emphasized the common bonds women share across the region, and closed the night with a reception at her residence.

During the symposium, which concludes tomorrow, women have developed a region-wide network of leaders, expanded their knowledge and tools, and supported efforts to increase their economic participation in the regional context. Already, the participants have identified a need for a gender assessment of trade and small- and medium-sized enterprise policies in order to move women’s enterprise to the next level.

The United States appreciates and looks forward to further collaboration with partner organizations and corporate sponsors, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Finance Corporation, UN Women, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asia Development Bank, Aga Khan Development Network, Goldman Sachs, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Mary Kay.

PRN: 2011/1211