Human resources development in the digital field is a universal matter and vital for economics’ sustainable growth. Meanwhile, promoting regional cooperative in building human capital in the digital age, especially developing 21st century skills to prepare for the future of work, has been identified as priority area in Asia Pacific. However, gender gap trends persist as the workforce moves toward new and emerging roles in STEM fields, which continue to outpace the gender gap, causing women to lose out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities.
Women’s lack of participation in STEM fields is not just a gender issue, but also an economic issue. UNESCO has stated that, unless addressed in a timely manner, women’s inferior representation in STEM fields may prevent many economies from reaching their Sustainable Development Goals.
Recognizing the potential opportunities and profits related to technological innovation, Chinese Taipei has implemented the APEC Innovation for Women and Economic Development Multi-year Project since 2013. By doing so, Chinese Taipei has supported the “Innovation and Technology” pillar of PPWE through various research studies and empowerment workshops. Chinese Taipei has emphasized that, the lack of gender equality in science and technology fields not only reduces women’s interest in participating in the emerging industry but also prevents women from further contributing to an economy’s indissoluble and inclusive growth.
Therefore, in accordance with the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum priorities, “Narrowing the gender gap in human resources development”, Chinese Taipei has put forward the APEC GIFTS initiative as a sustainable proposal in order to promote women and girls’ involvement in STEM fields for economic growth.
The underrepresentation of women in STEM is the result of many factors: social norms and expectations are different for women; women are lacking female role models; and many environments are still discriminatory. Accordingly, the APEC GIFTS initiative aims to provide best practices as female role models and a workshop to establish a nurturing environment, which emphasizes strengthening woman’s STEM-related capacity building and exchange of best practices for industry transition and technology development.
Activities: “APEC GIFTS – Best Practices in STEM for Girls and Women’s Role Models”: This handbook includes women in three different life stages: new young talents, hardcore professionals, and established role models. Its aim is to serve as: 1). A roadmap to set up outstanding female role models and a guide to learning about role models for STEM women in different career stages; and 2). An understanding of women’s development history in STEM to facilitate policy recommendations for promoting women in STEM fields and continue APEC’s focus on improving female representation in STEM.
Ÿ “APEC GIFTS - Promoting Women and Girl's Participation in STEM”: A three-and-a-half days’ workshop will be held at the end of October to respond to the declaration of APEC leaders and the PPWE Workplan. All APEC economies, officials and professionals employed in scientific education promotion, and female STEM talents and advocators are encouraged to attend. During this workshop, in addition to visiting education units and corporations, we expect to introduce representatives in STEM education and human resources with scientific education promotion strategies, the best practices sharing of female STEM talents, and the infinite possibilities of technology entrepreneurship. Ultimately, our goal is to transform these experiences into the impetus to “Promote women and girls in STEM fields” in order to enhance women’s capacity-building skills related to innovative technology to participate in future jobs and empower them to contribute to sustainable economic growth.