Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 6, 2011

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to sponsor “Strategies for Success,” the Central Asia and Afghanistan Women’s Economic Symposium to be held July18-20, 2011 in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic. The symposium will bring together women policy makers and leaders from private enterprise, education, and civil society to share strategies in support of women’s entrepreneurship. Kyrgyz Republic President Roza Otunbayeva, a long-time champion of women’s enterprise, will provide the opening address. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne S. Verveer and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert O. Blake, Jr. will also participate in the symposium.

Research by the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund shows that integrating women into the formal economy has numerous long term benefits for the labor force, economic performance, and job creation at the national, regional and international levels. These studies show that women's economic participation promotes enterprise development at the micro, small, and medium enterprise (SME) levels, as well as better business management and returns on investment which in turn, increases long term GDP growth and, in some cases, also achieves poverty reduction. The symposium seeks to strengthen a region-wide network of women leaders, expand their knowledge and tools, and support their efforts.

Many of the most dynamic women business leaders in the region are successful entrepreneurs who have forged ways to operate in a challenging environment. The symposium is focused on entrepreneurship and trade as a means to increase women’s economic participation in the regional context. Education, leadership skills, and participation in policy making will be addressed. Women leaders from the region will speak on three main panels:

- Economic Success through Enterprise and Trade

- Education for Opportunity and Leadership

- Achieving Progress through Participation in Governance

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, and other donor organizations will share expertise at the symposium and coordinate efforts afterwards with our missions and private sector partners, including Goldman Sachs, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Mary Kay.

Full agenda and Symposium schedule can be found here:

PRN: 2011/1123