While some Hong Kong women have broken the glass ceiling in the Government, much still needs to be done in the private sector, an American campaigner for women's rights has said. Irene Natividad, director of the Washington-based Global Summit of Women, was in the territory last week to sound out women's groups and leaders about the Global Summit for Women 2001 - to be held in Hong Kong in September. Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang, who will retire in April, has agreed to be a speaker at the three-day summit, said Ms Natividad. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be the keynote speaker. Commenting on remarks by the new Women's Commissioner, Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, that sex discrimination was not a major problem in the SAR, Ms Natividad said no country had yet achieved a level-playing field for women. 'I think Hong Kong is ahead of many other cities or many other regions in terms of participation of women in government, but there is still room to grow in terms of private companies,' she said. 'The number of women executives could still be improved upon - there is enormous room for growth.' Ms Natividad said women represented 'significant economic clout' that had not been recognised in government policies throughout the world. 'In the United States, 40 per cent of small businesses - which are the engine of our economy - are owned by women and they are the fastest growing segment. They generate US$3,000 billion (HK$23,400 billion) revenue every year and they hire more employees than the Fortune 500 companies combined. 'So they represent significant economic clout. But that is not yet reflected in the ways companies address them or in the hiring practices of all the companies of the world.' The Global Summit for Women was formed in 1990 to address that need. She said that women should also look to 'exchange ideas . . . exchange practices and in some cases actually create business together'.