Women contribute to the APEC economies as workers in employment and the informal sector, as entrepreneurs and investors in business, and through their unpaid work. Women’s participation in the labour force has been rising dramatically in the Asia-Pacific region: women now comprise between 32 and 46 per cent of the labour force in individual economies. From the 1980s, women have been providing a large part of the new labour supply in both industrialized and developing economies. In export industries, they have provided as much as 80 per cent of the labour force in some economies. In most comprise a significant share of employment in most sectors. Although not readily distinguished in official statistics, women’s businesses are also a significant and growing force in most APEC economies. Where data are available, women-led businesses have been found to account for 23 to 36 per cent of all businesses, and to be expanding more rapidly than the business sector as a whole. In other economies, the high proportion of women employers and self-employed workers suggests that women are equally important in the business sector. Women are particularly active in the informal sector, which is both a significant part of the total economy in many APEC economies and one that is of increased importance in those most affected by the current economic crisis. Women’s unpaid work forms the basis of the household economy and communities, as well as creating the future workforce. Unrecognized as having economic value and thus largely invisible to policy makers, unpaid work is a significant constraint to women’s capacity to respond to market incentives as workers and as entrepreneurs on an equal basis with men.