AUSTRALIA'S Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja will lead a delegation to the Indian Ocean Rim Association Women's Economic Empowerment forum next week.
More than 100 women and men from business, government, academia and civil society from all 20 member countries will attend the Australian sponsored event.
The two-day event, to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will focus on the tourism and textiles industries, as women in all countries are engaged in these sectors.
Member countries comprise about 30% of the world's population which equates to more than 2 billion people.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Friday the empowerment of women and girls across the region was a high priority.
"The Indian Ocean region includes countries with some of the lowest rates of women's labour force participation in the world and many countries still do not have equal inheritance laws between men and women for land and property," she said.
"Women's full economic participation has been a key driver of economic growth over recent decades.
"When women are equal participants in their economies all people benefit and enjoy increased living standards."
The forum will be held on August 17-19.
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