Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Conversation with Women Economists and Business Leaders in Santiago, Chile

As Prepared for Delivery

I’m very glad to have the opportunity to meet with all of you today. Thank you for joining.

I’m in Chile to emphasize the importance of the U.S.-Chile bilateral relationship, including the strong economic ties between our countries.

Our bilateral relationship is supported by the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, in place for 20 years, and the U.S.-Chile bilateral tax treaty, which entered into force just last year.

Making the most of these opportunities requires a strong enabling environment for the private sector. And this in turn can be fueled by the full and equal participation of women in the economy.

I know I share many experiences with those of you who have joined me for lunch today. We have all been the only woman in the room or at the decision-making table.

We all also know there is always more work to do to break down the legal, cultural, and regulatory barriers preventing women from full participation.

That is why the United States has been a strong supporter of inclusive programming at the multilateral development banks and works through funds such as the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, which promotes women’s access to finance, mentoring, and networks and links investments to country-level policy, legal, and regulatory reforms that help create an equal playing field.

We also know that laws and policies are not enough. We need governmental agencies and companies to have conviction that gender equality will lead to a more just and productive society, and to actively work to close gender gaps.

The Central Bank of Chile has demonstrated this conviction by addressing the issues of diversity and gender equality head on.

In a relatively short time, I understand that 70 percent of young professionals interviewed are now women and that the Central Bank has almost doubled the percentage of women being hired into economic-related positions.

I know that women in Chile are still woefully underrepresented in senior management and across many economic sectors. Some of you here today have dedicated your careers to changing that by engaging in social, regulatory, political, and organizational transformation for gender equality.

Many of you are also leaders whose work beyond gender has helped fuel Chile’s economic success.

Today, I am eager to hear about you and your work, including your backgrounds, the paths you have taken, and the challenges you have faced, to get here today. I also want to hear about the ways many of you have been advancing gender equality in your workplaces and professions.

Thank you again for taking time to join me.


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