An APEC Forum Dialogue that was organized as part of the APEC Political Partnership on Women and the Economy was held on 26 May 2021. Natalya Strigunova, the deputy director of the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, and Irina Saltykova, the deputy general director of Ericsson Training Centre autonomous non-profit organization of continuing professional education, attended the discussion on behalf of Russia. The goal of the dialogue was to draft practical recommendations and proposals for the Forum’s economies to support women in promoting digital and financial inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saltykova presented Russia’s experience in supporting women. The discussion participants expressed a keen interest in projects and initiatives in digital literacy, the promotion of professions in STEM, as well as leadership in the digital economy through the Council of the Eurasian Women’s Forum as part of the implementation of the National Strategy for Action for Women.
The dialogue continued in individual working groups. Recommendations for APEC economies were drafted following a discussion attended by representatives of Russia, Brunei, Chile, and New Zealand. Thus, the countries were invited to consider the possibility of providing subsidies for Internet access to low-income households; organize free courses on the development of digital skills and knowledge for target groups of women; and hold IT days to promote technical professions among women. Partnerships would need to be actively developed with the private sector to implement such programmes.
The Russian side proposed exchanging best government and business practices for the use of digital products and technologies to alleviate the burden of caretaking work (paid and unpaid as well as domestic), which has greatly increased for women during the pandemic.
Cooperation with APEC will continue at the third Eurasian Women’s Forum, where the Club of Winners and Participants of the APEC BEST AWARD International Competition for Women’s Entrepreneurial Projects is scheduled to meet.