Women Inclusion Could Improve LivesBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 08/10/2021 - 17:49
The World Trade Organization (WTO) launched a research and dissemination project entitled “Gender and Trade in the Americas” to impact women’s lives and help them reap the benefits of international trade.
The WTO is working to craft a concrete package to be adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference at the end of this year to support women’s economic activities. During the launch of this event, WHO’s Deputy Director-General Anabel González highlighted the decisive role women play in economic and social activities and the work of the WTO in support of gender-sensitive trade policies. “We live in an interconnected world and it has shown us that gender equality sits at the intersection of many international issues, negotiations and policies. Take climate change, labor, trade, or the COVID 19 pandemic. All include a gender perspective because women are at the center of countries’ economic and social lives.”
González explained that increasing women’s participation in the labor market to the same level as men’s could raise some countries’ GDP up to 34 percent and it could positively impact job creation, economic diversification, innovation, entrepreneurship, poverty reduction and development. Through a series of webinars, WHO aims to introduce joint research and outreach forums on trade and gender launched. These are part of a project introduced earlier this year by the WTO Chairs in Barbados, Chile and Mexico to improve members’ understanding of the nexus between trade policy instruments and gender equality and foster mainstreaming gender concerns in trade policies.
Some WTO Members have negotiated gender chapters in their trade agreements and today 13 percent of reciprocal trade agreements (RTA) include gender issues. This does not include trade negotiations, which can also result in social change. These agreements could help address issues such as health, wage gaps and political awareness, bringing benefits including maternity leave, childcare, wage equality, women leadership and compulsory access to medical insurance.
“Women have been impacted mostly because of the disadvantages they face in the economic, social, financial and regulatory ecosystems they are economically operating in and which have been exacerbated by the crisis. COVID-19 has even set women backward economically and socially. This shows us that we still have a long road ahead of us to make gender equality a reality across the world. But we are working towards it, and the WTO is engaged in contributing to gender equality in many ways as women’s empowerment is now an integral part of its work,” said González.