The different roles played by women and men in society and in the economy have repercussions on countries' trade performance and competitiveness, as well as on women's and men's ability to take advantage of the opportunities emerging from expanded trade. If these differences in opportunities are recognized and addressed, trade policy can become a powerful tool to close the gender gap.
This five-part Vi multimedia teaching resource, developed in cooperation with UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities (DITC), with support from the Government of Finland, introduces the links between trade and gender, and illustrates concepts and best practices through case studies conducted in Bhutan, Cape Verde, the Gambia and Lesotho.
The introductory presentation by Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief of DITC's Trade, Gender and Development Section (TGD), analyzes women's role in society and explores gender inequalitity. Armed with evidence indicating that trade policy affects women and men differently, she outlines practical steps for incorporating the gender dimension in trade agreements and policymaking.
The first case study, presented by TGD's Pavel Chakraborty, looks at Bhutan, a small least developed country where inequalities persist despite a women-friendly legal framework and the fact that women make up slightly more than half of the population and nearly 65 percent of the labour force.
The second case study, presented by TGD's Irene Musselli, focuses on the role of women in The Gambia's fisheries sector, a significant provider of jobs for the country's poor, and one of the most important sources of food for the nation.
The third study, presented by TGD's Mariangela Linoci, analyzes the situation of women in the import-dependent, services-driven economy of Cape Verde, and outlines policy options based on the results of simulations affecting food, remittances and tourism, conducted in the framework of the case study.
The final study, presented by TGD's Elizabeth Jane Casabianca, examines Lesotho's textiles sector, the main employer of women since the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) came into effect in 2000. As AGOA and its preferential rules of origin may come to an end in the future, Casabianca outlines policy action to minimize the negative effects of losing this important preferential treatment.