November 14, 2023
The Youth Trade Summit on Gender taking place at the WTO on 13-14 November aims to highlight young people’s perspectives on women’s economic empowerment. “This is the first time the WTO is organising such a landmark event involving young people from all over the world. They have a crucial role to play in shaping nations,” Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang said at the opening ceremony. Also at the opening was Xiana Méndez Bértolo, Spain’s Secretary of State for Trade, who underlined the importance of reducing the gender gap.
“Trade is a catalyst for women’s economic empowerment,” DDG Zhang told participants. “There is an increasing need to have more women in the global economy. The more they are involved, the more economies grow.”
“This is what data is telling us,” he continued. “Increasing women’s participation in the labour market to the same level as men’s would raise many countries’ GDP up to 34%,” said DDG Zhang.
“As the WTO’s upcoming Trade Policy Monitoring Report will highlight, governments have been increasingly including gender equality as part of their development plans and trade policies, recognising that women’s economic empowerment improves poverty reduction and contributes to their development,” he said.
Reiterating the sentiments expressed by DDG Zhang, Xiana Méndez Bértolo, Secretary of State for Trade at Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, emphasized that closing the gender gap in Spain could result in an estimated 18% increase in GDP.
She commended the WTO’s efforts to raise awareness among its members about incorporating the gender perspective in negotiations. She noted that this is reflected in the negotiations carried out by the European Union, where a dedicated chapter on gender is included in an upcoming agreement with Chile.
Ms Bértolo highlighted social justice and economic benefits as compelling reasons to promote women’s active involvement in international trade. She underscored data, networking, training and financing mechanisms as playing a key role in achieving equality and increasing competitiveness.
The Youth Trade Summit on Gender offers a forum for young professionals to share their perspectives on trade and gender issues and foster dialogue with WTO member delegations, senior researchers in the field, and global stakeholders.
The opening session was moderated by Adriana Quiñones, Head of Human Rights and Development at UN Women.
- Women and trade
- Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang
- Information for students and young professionals