The case for gender equality is unequivocal - not just as a fundamental human right, but also as a crucial factor in generating poverty reduction, economic growth and development. Indeed, the importance of gender equality is highlighted in Millennium Development Goal No. 3
on promoting gender equality and empowering women.
Women play a major role in contributing to the economy, to better governance, and to their communities and households. Discrimination and marginalization reduces this contribution, making societies worse off. Just like income inequality, gender discrimination tends to reduce growth and hold back development by crippling a part of society´s human capital. By contrast, there is ample evidence that enhanced opportunities for women lead to improvements in poverty reduction and accelerated economic growth.
It is therefore high time for gender equality to be incorporated more broadly into development policymaking. Trade policy cannot and should not be an exception.
About Trade, Gender and Development
Trade policies often have a strong redistributive effect, both across economic sectors and among individuals. They can create opportunities for women´s empowerment, and can also create burdens as they disrupt markets in which women operate. This is why the gender perspective should be included in the design and implementation of trade policies.
As a United Nations entity, UNCTAD has both the responsibility and the expertise to play a key role in ensuring that gender concerns are incorporated in a meaningful way in macroeconomic policies, including trade policy.
Specifically, within its mandate, UNCTAD will:
|"strengthen its work on the linkages between trade and internationally agreed development goals and objectives, [...] including gender equality" |
(Accra Accord para. 96(d))
"make efforts to mainstream cross-cutting issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women" in all its work.
(Accra Accord para. 173)
The current focus of UNCTAD´s work on gender equality and women´s empowerment include the following priority areas:
- Supporting developing countries to integrate gender considerations in their trade policy formulation and implementation, and in the negotiation of trade and cooperation agreements.
- Supporting developing countries to setup an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.
UNCTAD´s work on gender mainstreaming goes beyond trade policies, as it strongly contributes to the inclusion of gender considerations in other sectors such as technology, innovation and entrepreneurship policies.
Work is conducted through:
- Analytical activities on specific trade, gender and development-related issues.
- Capacity development and technical cooperation.
- Intergovernmental dialogue