WTO DDG González underscores importance of women’s economic empowerment in trade

In an opening address to a joint webinar marking the launch of a research and outreach project on “Gender and Trade in the Americas” on August 3, 2021, Deputy Director-General Anabel González emphasized the central role of women in economic and social lives and the WTO´s work in supporting gender responsive trade policies. The webinars were organized by member institutions of the WTO Chairs Programme in Barbados, Chile, and Mexico with project funding provided by the Netherlands.

Citing trade’s role in fostering women’s empowerment and advancing gender equality, DDG González said that gender responsive trade policies are important for lifting obstacles to trade for women, creating new jobs and reducing wage gaps. Noting the WTO’s work in this regard, she said the 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment was a milestone leading to the WTO’s broader engagement on gender equality and a catalyst for the establishment of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender in the WTO last September.

The Informal Working Group is working towards crafting a concrete package to be adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference at the end of this year that would impact women’s lives on the ground and help them reaping the benefits of international trade, she said.In addition, the WTO is developing a number of gender and trade policy tools to help members empower women, including establishing a training programme to build WTO members’ capacity on trade and gender. DDG Gonzales said. Her full speech is here.

Ambassador Chad Blackman of Barbados, Ambassador Mathias Francke Schnarbach of Chile, and Ambassador Angel Villalobos of Mexico spoke at the opening meeting of the webinar and expressed their support for event.

The webinar is part of a series of joint research and outreach seminars on trade and gender launched earlier this year by the WTO Chairs in in Barbados, Chile, and Mexico.  The goal is to improve members’ understanding of the nexus between trade policy instruments and gender equality and foster mainstreaming gender concerns in trade policies. The project is funded by the government of the Netherlands.

These seminars consist of six online roundtables addressing key topics in relation to trade and gender. The participants include academics, policymakers, trade negotiators, and experts from international organizations. A special edition of the Latin American Journal of Trade Policy (Mexico) will be issued on gender and international trade topic at the end of the seminars.

The WTO Chairs Programme aims to support and promote trade-related academic activities by universities and research institutions in developing and least-developed countries. Nineteen universities are currently part of the WTO Chairs network.

More on the WTO chairs programme: WTO Chairs Programme