Dame Meg Taylor, in marking International Women's Day, said when young women were empowered they were free to make their own decisions.
She said the flow-on effects were enormous.
Dame Meg said increased female labour force participation would lead to faster economic growth, while evidence shows that when more of the household income is controlled by women the beneficial spending on children improves.
She said she and the forum leaders are committed to advancing gender equality across the region.
Gender equality will bring massive return to Pacific - UN