Trade liberalisation policy
Publisher: International Labour Organization
Publication Date: Jan 2003
Trade liberalisation (decreasing restrictions on trade) has taken place through several policy frameworks over the past ten years. In addition to the rules of the WTO, trade liberalisation has also been a key factor of World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes. Advocates of such policies argue that trade liberalisation should increase a country's growth and incomes. However, the impacts of liberalisation may vary at different levels of the economy, and may differ between women and men. The picture is often complex and contradictory. For example, trade liberalisation has benefited women by increasing their access to formal sector employment, such as in export processing zones. At the same time, women have paid the price of adjustment in their roles in household management and traditional agriculture which have been negatively affected. This brief provides a one page gender and trade checklist to facilitate efforts to create an enabling environment to maximise the benefits of trade liberalisation for women.