Briefings Gender Equality and Trade: recent developments and ways forward

Briefings
READING TIME 20 mins mins

Gender Equality and Trade: recent developments and ways forward

Globally, women continue to experience widespread social and economic disadvantage. Existing trade rules are developed without due attention to gender inequality and can worsen women’s situation, for example by contributing to increased costs of public services.


In December 2017, 118 WTO members supported a Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment at the Ministerial Conference. A number of trade deals now include gender chapters and countries including the UK have a renewed focus on female entrepreneurship.

International action to address the gendered impacts of trade policy is welcome. However, this will not be effective if it is limited to non-binding declarations, gender chapters in trade deals or initiatives to increase women’s access to export markets.

Redressing the impacts that trade has on women will require fundamental reform of trade rules. Post-Brexit, the UK has the opportunity to design a genuinely gender-responsive trade policy.

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Published June 2018 TJM

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