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IN THE NEWS - July 20, 2002: Global Summit of Women - 2002-07-19

This is Bob Doughty with the VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS.

About six-hundred business, professional and governmental leaders gathered in Barcelona, Spain, last week for the Global Summit of Women. The three-day meeting dealt with economic development for women around the world.

The Global Summit of Women brought together women from more than seventy countries. The largest delegations this year were from Spain, the United States and Kazakhstan.

Several governments sent trade officials to the summit, including the United States, Iceland and Canada. The American group was led by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Maria Cino (SEE-no). Female business leaders and government officials spoke at the meeting. They included vice presidents, deputy prime ministers and ministers of employment, science and technology from several countries.

The Global Summit of Women began in nineteen-ninety. It has been held every year since nineteen-ninety-seven. The majority of women attending the meeting are owners of small businesses. The meeting offers women a chance to increase business and professional relationships and to exchange ideas. It aims to increase women’s economic progress even though there are cultural barriers in many countries.

The summit dealt with problems that women face in starting or expanding businesses. It provided information in many areas. For example, the meeting provided information about doing business on the Internet computer system and developing effective Web sites. The women also discussed how to get financial support for business owners and form important business alliances.

Other issues included how health crises and environmental concerns influence business. The women discussed how to turn traditional activities into successful modern businesses. And they also discussed how women can balance many concerns in their lives, including work, family and health.

The director of the Global Summit of Women is Irene Natividad of the United States. Mizz Natividad says in Europe, Canada and the United States, at least one-third of all small and medium-size businesses are now owned by women. And she says eighty percent of small businesses in developing countries are owned and led by women. Mizz Natividad says small businesses are an important part of every free market economy.

Mizz Natividad says women are also an important part of every economy. Yet she says many businesses fail to recognize the importance of women. She says women must do more to gain economic equality.

She also called on women to do more to improve the education of girls and women around the world, especially in science and math. She says this is important for the new world economy.

This VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS, was written by Cynthia Kirk. This is Bob Doughty.