Continue to review, develop and improve national and/or regional collection of gender-disaggregated data that is comparable to the extent possible and analysis on trade and gender, to provide the basis for informed gender-responsive policies;
At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, trade and gender was raised formally on the WTO agenda with 118 WTO members endorsing the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment. The Declaration aimed to increase women’s participation in international trade, cultivate their economic empowerment and to remove the barriers facing them in the process.
Thereafter, in September 2020 an Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender was initiated to bolster efforts towards these goals to improve women’s participation in global trade. It was agreed that there was an important need for the WTO to address issues related to the economic empowerment of women, which has become more pronounced as a result of the disproportionate impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on women.
The Working Group aims to minimise these impacts and support women in moving forward with targeted actions. It aims to share best practice on removing barriers to women’s participation in world trade, to exchange views on how to apply a “gender lens” to the work of the WTO, to review gender-related reports produced by the WTO Secretariat, and to discuss how women may benefit from the Aid for Trade initiative.
The initiative is chaired by Cabo Verde, the United Kingdom and El Salvador.
The Working Group has a work plan set out under four pillars which is assessing how women can benefit from the Aid for Trade initiative; applying a ‘gender lens’ to the WTO’s work programme; Reviewing existing gender-related Research and analysis and promoting and adopting best practice workshops/webinars. The scope of activities of The Informal Working Group (IWG) on Trade and Gender was based on both the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment as well as the Interim WTO Report that established the Informal Working Group. It was agreed that there was an important need for the WTO to address issues related to the economic empowerment of women, which has become more pronounced as a result of the disproportionate impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on women. The Working Group aims to minimise these impacts and support women in moving forward with targeted actions. This Work Plan is based on the originally agreed pillars and is broadly set out as follows:
- Sharing experiences relating to policies and programs to encourage women’s participation in national and international trade through World Trade Organization (WTO) information exchanges, as appropriate, and voluntary reporting during the WTO trade policy review process;
- Sharing best practices for conducting gender-based analysis of trade policies and for the monitoring of their effects;
- Sharing methods and procedures for the collection of gender-disaggregated data, the use of indicators, monitoring and evaluation methodologies, and the analysis of gender-focused statistics related to trade,
- Working together in the WTO to remove barriers for women’s economic empowerment and increase their participation in trade; and
- Ensuring that Aid for Trade supports tools and know-how for analysing, designing and implementing more gender-responsive trade policies.
Further Proposals In support of these objectives the working group has set out proposals to:
- encourage member countries that have ambitious or innovative programmes to showcase their national and/or regional approaches and experiences as potential inspiration and guidance to others.
- Have the Group consider and clarify, what a ‘gender lens’ as a concept applied to international trade would entail, and, secondly, consider specifically how a gender lens could usefully be applied to the work of the WTO, with a view to presenting a concept and work plan to members at MC12;
- continue to share best practices, information and exchange views on removing trade-related barriers and increasing the participation of women in trade.
- review and discuss gender-related analytical work produced by the WTO Secretariat; and
- explore how best to support the delivery of the WTO Aid for Trade work programme.
Additional Approaches Beyond this, some members have incorporated gender related approaches in their Trade Policy Reviews and are advocating for this more widely in the WTO membership. Similarly members are calling for eligibility criteria under Aid for Trade to adequately account for gender by building it into the assistance measures from the start, and then measuring effects to understand the scale of the impacts. Other members have included a number of gender provisions in their bilateral and regional trade agreements.
On 6 June 2023, the co-chairs of the Informal Working Group circulated, via a restricted document (INF/TGE/W/6), their work plan for 2023-24. Ambassador Gunnarsson of Iceland said that under the work plan, members will continue deepening activities on data collection methodologies on trade and gender, expand engagement to further integrate gender issues into members’ Trade Policy Reviews, develop a draft framework on how to “apply a gender lens to the WTO,” and continue work on female entrepreneurship and Aid for Trade.
The Group also welcomed the appointment of new co-chairs Ambassador Clara Manuela da Luz Delgado Jesus of Cabo Verde and Ambassador Simon Manley of the United Kingdom, to replace Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme of Botswana who previously announced her departure as co-chair, and Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland for whom it was the last meeting. Ambassador Ana Patricia Benedetti Zelaya of El Salvador remains as a co-chair.
The following Members have publicly announced formal support for this initiative: Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Angola; Argentina; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belarus; Benin; Botswana; Brazil; Burundi; Cambodia; Canada; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Côte d’Ivoire; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Eswatini; Ethiopia; European Union member states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden); Fiji; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Iceland; Indonesia; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea (Republic of); Kyrgyzstan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Liechtenstein; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Mauritius; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Myanmar; Namibia; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Russia; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Sudan; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; Tajikistan; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States, Uruguay; Vanuatu; Viet Nam and Zambia.
The following official documents relating to Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender have been made public:
WTO Secretariat’s analysis on Trade and Gender-related provisions in Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs)
Date: 19 September 2022 Document: INF/TGE/COM/4 and Rev.1 Our summary: This document presents the outcome of the database in gender provisions in RTAs, analyses in detail the gender provisions contained in RTAs and highlights trends and disparities arising from these provisions on a global and regional scale.
Progress Report on WTO Members and observers technical work on women’s economic empowerment
Date: 9 November 2021 Member: Co-chairs (Botswana, El Salvador and Iceland) Document: INF/TGE/R/1 Our summary: This progress report highlights the key points raised under each of the four pillars of work of the IWG.
Mexico’s communication on recent work on trade and gender
Date: 22 October 2021 Member: Mexico Document: INF/TGE/COM/2 Our summary: Mexico’s communication highlighting a ceremony marking its affiliation to the Inclusive Trade Action Group and the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement, and its participation in ITC’s SheTrades Outlook project.
WTO Proposal For A Framework To Deliver An Ambitious Ministerial Outcome On Trade And Gender For Mc12 And Beyond
Date: 30 April 2021 Member: Co-Chairs of the Informal Working Group (Botswana, El Salvador and Iceland) Document: INF/TGE/W/3 Our summary: This proposal from the Co-Chairs sets out elements to be considered by the Informal Working Group.
Australia’s information note on practices and processes
Date: 11 January 2021 Member: Australia Document: INF/TGE/COM/1 Our summary: This information note from Australia provides details on Australia’s experiences with gender-related practices and processes.
Canada’s Draft Working Plan for Implementing Activities under the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender
Date: 21 December 2020 Member: Canada Document: INF/TGE/W/1, Rev.1 and Rev.2 Our summary: This white paper proposal by Canada outlines four activities aligned with the four pillars (Aid for Trade, Gender lens, Research and data, best practice workshops/webinars) identified in the Interim Report.
Interim Report establishing the Informal Working Group (IWG) on Trade and Gender at the WTO
Date: 25 September 2020 Member: Iceland and Botswana on behalf of the International Gender Champions Trade Impact Group Document: WT/L/1095/Rev.1 Our summary: This interim report establishes the informal, open and transparent working group at the WTO and sets out four pillars of work.
Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment on the Occasion of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017
Date: December 2017 Document: Declaration Our summary: Through the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to collaborate on making their trade and development policies more gender responsive.
WTO - Costa Rica's joins Inclusive Trade Action Group and the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement Costa Rica announces joining the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) and its Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) on 15 May 2023.
WTO - Trade and Gender Informal Working Group co-chairs launch work plan for 2023-24 The co-chairs of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 20 June launched the 2023-24 work plan, which outlines the steps to be taken by members to deliver concrete results for women’s economic empowerment. The rolling work plan establishes discussion themes and timeframes, which remains open to members’ evolving suggestions.
WTO - Ecuador joins Inclusive Trade Action Group and the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement Ecuador announces joining the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) and its Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) on 15 May 2023.
WTO - El Salvador minister calls on WTO members to take action on promoting gender equality Implementing specific action in a coordinated way to advance women’s economic empowerment is crucial, said María Luisa Hayem Brevé, El Salvador’s Minister of the Economy, at a meeting of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 21 April.
WTO - DDG Ellard: We need to make trade work for women Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard delivered a keynote speech on 3 March at a Women in Trade event organized by Trade Finance Global in London. She outlined ways in which the WTO seeks to make trade more inclusive by supporting the integration of women in international trade.
WTO - Trade and Gender Informal Working Group co-chairs present draft work plan for 2023 Members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 14 February began discussions on the 2023 work plan drafted by the co-chairs.
WTO - Members highlight progress on trade and gender, aim for long-term work programme in 2023 At their last meeting of the year held on 12 December, members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender took stock of the work undertaken in 2022 and considered their next steps.
IISD - Whither “Invigorated” WTO Work on Trade and Gender? The WTO Informal Working Group on trade and gender is continuing its work. The focus appears to be increasingly on how women entrepreneurs can trade internationally, diverting attention from other ways that trade can affect women. While some members are interested in using the group to develop rules, it is not clear whether and how the Informal Working Group might embark on this.
IISD - WTO Ministerial Declaration on Trade and Gender on Indefinite Hold Contrary to expectations earlier this year, the draft WTO Ministerial Declaration on trade, gender equality, and women’s economic empowerment is no longer on the table for adoption by the WTO’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva this week. Instead, the three WTO members that co-convene the informal working group on trade and gender within the WTO – Botswana, El Salvador, and Iceland – issued a short statement on inclusive trade and gender equality as the Ministerial Conference opened on Sunday, 12 June. The statement summarizes what the WTO’s trade and gender informal working group has done over the past year, and states the co-convenors’ commitment “to continuing work on trade and gender.”
WTO - Trade and gender co-chairs affirm commitment to gender equality in trade at MC12 The three co-chairs of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender — Botswana, El Salvador and Iceland — on 12 June issued a statement at the 12th Ministerial Conference highlighting the achievements of WTO members’ joint work and reaffirming their commitment to advancing gender equality in trade.
WTO - Research database on trade and gender The WTO has released a new database of research on trade and gender.
USTR.gov - USTR Announces Intention to Join the Joint Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equility and Women's Economic Empowerment Within Trade The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced the United States’ intention to join the Joint Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment Within Trade for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. USTR will continue to participate in the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender at the WTO to deepen the understanding of structural and cultural barriers to women’s participation in trade in order to craft trade policy that promotes women’s economic empowerment.
WTO - Joint Ministerial Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equality and Women's Economic Empowerment Published The joint declaration on trade and gender for MC12 was circulated by the proponents in an unrestricted WTO document, WT/MIN(21)/4.
IISD - WTO Heads for a Ministerial Declaration on Trade and Gender A Joint Ministerial Declaration on trade and gender will be adopted during MC12 and the US, which had not formally endorsed the trade and gender agenda created within the WTO, is now on board. However, some are disappointed the Declaration does not acknowledge the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
WTO - Aid for Trade monitoring exercise to look into sustainability, women’s economic empowerment WTO members launched the 2022 Aid for Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise at a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development on 8 October. WTO members and Aid for Trade partners are requested to submit self-assessment questionnaires up to 31 December 2021 to assist preparations for the 2022 Aid for Trade Global Review.
WTO - Trade and Gender Informal Working Group co-chairs present draft outcome document for MC12 Members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 23 September discussed the first draft of an outcome document on trade’s role in women’s economic empowerment, which will be launched at the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), to be held on 30 November to 3 December in Geneva. The meeting also marked the first anniversary of the Working Group’s establishment.
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 3 August, 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.
IISD - WTO Advances Gender Agenda Amidst Calls for Broader Gender Lens MC12 is now certain to see a trade and gender outcome. The WTO Secretariat is moving forward with initiatives on trade and gender, which include its Gender Research Hub, launched on 31 May 2021. The topic is proceeding almost without opposition in the WTO, but gender experts are critical of the WTO’s agenda content and process.
WTO - Members discuss how Aid for Trade can support women’s economic empowerment Members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 16 July discussed how Aid for Trade programmes can be used to further enhance women’s participation in trade. Members were also updated on preparations for a declaration to be made at the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in November.
WTO - WTO launches Gender Research Hub to promote cooperation on trade and gender issues The WTO on 31 May launched the WTO Gender Research Hub to enhance collaboration and exchange among trade and gender researchers. It will also serve as a platform for dialogue between researchers and the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender established at the WTO last September.
WTO - Members of Trade and Gender Informal Working Group discuss women empowerment initiatives Members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender exchanged information on national experiences and approaches to increasing the participation of women in trade at a meeting on 28 April. Members highlighted the importance of training, data collection and mainstreaming gender considerations in trade negotiations and policy design as among key practices to ensure women reap the benefits of trade.
WTO - Members of Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender agree on work plan for 2021 Members adopted a 2021 work plan to intensify efforts to increase women’s empowerment through trade at the 26 February meeting of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender. El Salvador Ambassador Ana Patricia Benedetti Zelaya was appointed as the third co-chair of the Informal Working Group at the meeting.
WTO - International Women’s Day: Focus on women for a stronger recovery On the occasion of 2021 International Women’s Day on 8 March, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened inequalities of every kind. But perhaps no divide has deepened more than that between men and women.”
WTO - Members discuss work plan at first meeting of Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender Members exchanged ideas on how to further advance their understanding of the links between trade and gender and how to approach trade issues with a “gender lens” at the first meeting of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 10 December. Members also welcomed the release of the report by the International Gender Champions Trade Impact Group outlining 32 best practices in trade and gender policy.
WTO - New WTO working group established to deepen trade and gender discussions A group of WTO members agreed to establish an Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on 23 September, marking the next phase of an initiative kickstarted in 2017 to increase the participation of women in trade. The online meeting to launch the new WTO working group was held at the invitation of Iceland and Botswana.
WTO - Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade outlines actions to empower women For the first time in the history of the World Trade Organization, WTO members and observers have endorsed a collective initiative to increase the participation of women in trade. In order to help women reach their full potential in the world economy, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, which seeks to remove barriers to, and foster, women’s economic empowerment.
CTIL - Gender Mainstreaming in Preferential Trade Agreements Authors: James J. Nedumpara, Sreelakshmi S. Kurup and Rishabha Meena
This Working Paper undertakes a cross-country analysis of how gender issues are addressed at the WTO and in bilateral or regional trade negotiations. In particular, the Working Paper explores, first, the concept of gender mainstreaming in international trade; and second, provides an evaluation of how gender dynamics is played out in PTAs from the perspective of UNSDG 5 – Gender Equality. Additionally, the paper also highlights some of the challenges which deserve increased attention in the discourse of trade and gender in international trade.
IISD - Five Key Elements for a Gender Lens in Trade Author: Caroline Dommen
In June 2022, trade ministers from a large group of WTO members will adopt a declaration on trade, gender equality, and women’s economic empowerment. This move confirms that gendered aspects of trade are firmly on the international trade policy agenda. For this to have tangible benefits for women, though, it will be necessary to get the “gender lens” right. Here are five elements that should be considered when defining a gender lens for trade.
IISD - Mainstreaming Gender in Trade Policy: Practice, evidence, and ways forward Gender-related provisions are becoming more and more common in trade agreements. But to what extent do they help —or hinder —efforts to achieve gender equality? This report analyzes the success of existing provisions to help maximize the impacts of future agreements.
Trade Experettes - Ten “Quick Wins” for More Equitable Trade: Contribution to Discussions on Women and Trade This report highlights a pragmatic set of deliverables that could help take the discussion on trade and gender to the next level and that can be quickly implemented by the international community.
Trade Experettes - Gender-Inclusive E-Commerce in a Post-COVID-19 Recovery Author: Amalie G. Thystrup
Trade and gender is in the spotlight. The international community has committed to making trade more inclusive, and taken steps to facilitate women’s participation in the global trading system.
WEF - Global Value Chain Policy Series: Gender This paper examines how the expansion of Global Value Chains has changed the gender pattern of work across various stages of production and the opportunities and challenges this creates. It provides an overview of initiatives promoting women’s economic empowerment in GVCs.
Trade Experettes - Putting Women at the Heart of Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery: How Trade Agreements Can Help Author: Amrita Bahri
Economic empowerment comes with unfettered access to economic opportunities and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the impact of these pre-existing barriers in various ways.
TRALAC - Gender Provisions in African Trade Agreements: An Assessment of the Commitments for Reconciling Women’s Empowerment and Global Trade This TRALAC working paper examines the extent to which African states are committed to supporting women’s empowerment in trade agreements. Five levels of commitment are identified based on the location, the degree of precision, and the bindingness of the gender-related provisions.
CSIS - The WTO Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender: What It Is, What It Should Consider, and What It Could Be This CSIS commentary recommends that the WTO Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender incorporate gender-responsive clauses in trade agreements.
World Bank and WTO - Women and Trade: The Role of Trade in Promoting Gender Equality The goal of this report is to improve the understanding of the impacts of trade and trade policy on gender equality, and to provide policy makers with evidence on the benefits of trade for women and with potential policy solutions. The report uses a conceptual framework that illustrates the diverse transmission channels through which trade and trade policy can affect women, according to three key economic roles they play: workers, consumers, and decision makers.
The World Bank - Women and Trade: The Role of Trade in Promoting Women’s Equality The report, produced in collaboration with the World Trade Organization, marks the first major effort to quantify how women are affected by trade using a new gender-disaggregated dataset. The dataset, developed by the World Bank Group, allows researchers to understand how women are employed, in which industries they work, how much they earn, and whether or not they are involved in global trade. This analysis helps governments see how trade policies can affect women and men differently.
WTO & World Bank - Women and Trade: The role of trade in promoting gender equality In view of the complexity of the relationship between trade and gender, it is important to assess the potential impact of trade policy on both women and men and to develop appropriate policies to ensure that trade contributes to enhancing opportunities for all. Building on new analysis and data broken down by gender, this report: “Women and Trade: The role of trade in promoting gender equality” aims to advance understanding of the relationship between trade and gender equality and to identify opportunities through which trade can improve the lives of women.
CIGI - The Importance (and Complexity) of Mainstreaming Gender in Trade Agreements Authors: Padideh Ala'i And Renata Vargas Amaral
The authors argue the need to mainstream gender in trade agreements through a whole agreement approach, which accounts for the realities faced by women globally and the differences between countries.
EU Commission - Female participation in EU exporting activities: jobs and wages This analysis sheds new insights on the gender-balance of the employment opportunities supported by extra-EU exports. It shows that in 2017 more than 13 million female workers in the EU had jobs thanks to the exports of goods and services to the rest of the world. However, there is a gender gap when it comes to the employment prospects offered by extra-EU exports: only 38% of the jobs dependent on exports to the world are taken up by women. The analysis suggests that such gender gap is largely due to the concentration of female employment in the less export-oriented sectors, notably in services. Furthermore, the current note makes clear that labour compensation for female workers in exports-supported jobs stagnated in comparison to total employment over the time period considered. Although all exports-supported jobs benefit from a wage premium, there is a gender wage gap of 4 p.p.
CIGI - Reshaping Trade through Women's Economic Empowerment: In this series of commentaries, experts in trade, development and women's rights explore opportunities and challenges in realizing the declaration's goal of economic empowerment of women through inclusion in domestic and international trade.
ICTSD - The Gender Dimensions of Global Value Chains This paper seeks to integrate gender into the global value chain (GVC) framework, to assess the gender dimensions of integration and economic and social upgrading in GVCs, and to offer GVC-related policy recommendations that support economic and social development.
ITC - Unlocking Markets for Women to Trade This publication provides insights to decision makers on women’s participation in trade and the challenges they face - includes data from importers and exporters in 20 developing countries; outlines where the barriers to trade are; shares models of good public and private sector initiatives; and provides recommendations for policymakers to engage women entrepreneurs more fully in the global economy.
Joint Ministerial Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equality and Women's Economic Empowerment Within Trade (For MC12)
The proponents of this initiative circulated this joint Ministerial declaration in unrestricted format as WTO document WT/MIN(21)/4.
This Declaration is being issued at the request of Afghanistan; Albania; Angola; Argentina; Australia; Barbados; Benin; Botswana; Brazil; Burundi; Cambodia; Canada; Chad; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Côte d’Ivoire; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Eswatini; European Union; Fiji; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Iceland; Indonesia; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Kenya; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyz Republic; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Liechtenstein; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Mauritius; Mexico; Moldova, Republic of; Mongolia; Montenegro; Myanmar; Namibia; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Switzerland; the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; Tajikistan; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkey; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Viet Nam and Zambia.
Reaffirming the objectives of the Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment launched in the margins of the 2017 WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires; Acknowledging and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, and other instruments supporting gender equality; Acknowledging the progress made in implementing the Buenos Aires Declaration and the work of the Informal Working Group (IWG) on Trade and Gender, as described in document INF/TGE/R/1 and based on four pillars: reviewing analytical work undertaken; experience sharing; considering the concept and scope for a “gender lens”; and contributing to the Aid-for-Trade Work Programme; Recognizing that women can benefit from trade; that they constitute an economic force globally, that increasing their participation in the labour market to the same level as men’s and ensuring full recognition of women’s economic rights will raise Members’ GDP;
and that the WTO can provide a venue to engage on trade and gender to positively impact women’s economic empowerment and to achieve sustainable economic growth;
Recalling that women continue to face disproportionate barriers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly of unpaid care and domestic work, that prevent them from fully engaging in and benefiting from international trade, and acknowledging that various economic and trade instruments, policies, programmes and agreements could address these barriers; Noting that the IWG on Trade and Gender, assisted by international organizations, initiated its technical work on better understanding the nexus between trade and gender and the efforts of Members to afford opportunities for women workers and entrepreneurs to share their views and how to take these into consideration in developing their national and trade policies;
Building on the work done by the IWG on Trade and Gender, and the information gathered and shared by the WTO Secretariat and other international organizations, we, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations, agree to:
Utilize research initiatives to inform trade policy instruments and programmes to support women’s economic empowerment and increase their participation and leadership in international trade to promote gender equality;
Explore and analyse a gender perspective and women’s economic empowerment issues in the work of the WTO; and
Promote and highlight the collaboration on trade and gender between international and regional organizations, and our respective development and other relevant authorities with the aim of mainstreaming a gender equality perspective into Aid for Trade.
Instructions to Officials
We instruct our officials to continue work on trade and gender and build a two-year work plan that includes concrete action points towards the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) and review the work plan after one year of implementation and thereafter inform the General Council periodically on its progress;
Instructions to the Informal Working Group
We instruct the IWG on Trade and Gender to continue to discuss the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and explore avenues that build an inclusive recovery and strengthen women’s economic resilience using improved data collection to advance gender equality and equity as appropriate.