Global Resources

Gender Trade and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Author: H. Gibb
Publisher: North-South Institute
Publication Date: Jun 2003
How does trade liberalisation affect men and women differently? How are men and women differently able to influence trade policies? Women have less access than men to resources and to opportunities for participation and decision-making. Their enterprises are often constrained by gender biases in legal, financial and market systems and by lack of training. These speaking notes for the WTO Public Symposium Challenges ahead on the road to Canc£n in June 2003 argue that a gender perspective can help policy-makers devise measures needed to accompany trade liberalisation. Addressing gender inequality will increase productivity and ensure that both women and men benefit from trade. The notes firstly outline the impacts of trade liberalisation on women, looking at manufacturing, agriculture, services and tariffs. They then go on to explore how gender can be integrated into international trade policy through institutional procedures, gender awareness sessions for committees, development of tools and frameworks, gender analysis and impact assessments and identification of good practice. The WTO should engage in capacity building within the Development and Economic Research Division, the Technical Cooperation Division of the secretariat and in training programmes. Other recommendations are: setting up of a gender and trade working group in the WTO; more engagement with other organisations such as UNIFEM, ILO and WHO; and giving support to national governments in raising the issue of gender.