unctad.org | Making Trade Work for Gender Equality: From Evidence to Action
Making Trade Work for Gender Equality: From Evidence to Action
12 December 2017
Bolsa cereales, Theater San Martin
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Key Issues


Trade policy is not gender neutral. The distributional outcomes of trade vary between women and men, since they play different roles in society and in the economy, and they enjoy different opportunities. If trade policies are designed without taking into account their gender-specific outcomes, these policies risk magnifying existing gender gaps.

Closing gender gaps in the economic ​domain will not only advance women's economic empowerment but also support progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.


There are at least three ways for making trade policy more gender sensitive:

  1. Conduct ex-ante gender impact assessments of trade measures. Such assessment may lead to the re-thinking of planned trade reforms, may point to the need for accompanying measures, or may indicate the need for scaling up the trade measures because of their expected positive impact.  UNCTAD's  Trade and Gender Toolbox provides a methodology for carrying out the ex-ante assessment.

  2. Include gender considerations in the text of trade measures. There has been a shift in the way gender issues are addressed in trade agreements. In the past, they were mainly included in the preambles of the agreements or addressed as crosscutting issues. More recently, gender issues are tackled in specific trade and gender chapters, as it is the case of the Chile-Uruguay and Canada-Chile FTAs.

  3. Ensure policy coherence between trade and other policies. Trade liberalization has created large-scale employment and skill development opportunities for women. Such opportunities have, however, been accompanied by some risks that need to be addressed by appropriate flanking measures. The event will provide the opportunity to discuss the three approaches. The discussion will benefit from the experiences of Finland and Sweden that have made gender equality and women's economic empowerment a pillar of their policies.

Key Issues:

  1. What would make trade policies more gender responsive?
  2. Is the inclusion of trade and gender chapters in "new generation" Free Trade Agreements a revolution?
  3. What are the benefits of conducting a gender assessment of trade measures/agreements prior to their implementation?
  4. Why is it important to ensure policy coherence between trade and other policies?

Expected Outcomes:

Increased understanding of the links between trade, gender and development and of the instruments to advance women's economic empowerment through trade, including in light of the Ministerial Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment.·



Ricardo MELÉNDEZ-ORTIZ is co-founder of the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, ICTSD, and has been its Chief Executive since 1996. Previously, he co-founded and was General Director of Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano. He has represented Colombia as a negotiator in several multilateral fora. Earlier, Ricardo had served as Principal Adviser to the Colombian Minister of Economic Development and as Chief of Administration of the Office of the President of Colombia. ·


François-Philippe Champagne  
H.E. François-Philippe Champagne

François-Philippe Champagne was appointed Minister of International Trade of Canada by Prime Minister Trudeau in January 2017. Before taking up such position, Minister Champagne was a Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance of Canada. Businessman, lawyer and international trade specialist, François-Philippe Champagne has more than 20 years of experience in large international companies, particularly in the field of energy, engineering, and innovation, where he held senior positions. In 2009, he was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Oscar Stenström  
H.E. Oscar Stenström

Oscar Stenström is State Secretary to the Minister for EU Affairs and Trade in Sweden. From 2014 to 2016, Mr. Stenström was State Secretary to the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation. Since 1994, Oscar Stenström has been actively involved in the Swedish Social Democratic Party, mainly focusing on foreign policy issues. From 2007 to 2014, Oscar was the Foreign Policy Secretary to party chairs, including Mr. Stefan Löfven, at present Prime Minister of Sweden.

Rodolfo Nin Novoa 
H.E. Rodolfo Nin Novoa

Rodolfo Nin Novoa was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay in March 2015. He was formerly Vice President of Uruguay from 2005 to 2010. As a senator during the period 1999-2004 and 2010-2015, he presided several Parliament Commissions. Prior to his public career, Chancellor Nin Novoa's private activities included the chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the Agriculture and Livestock Association of his home department, and a position as Advisor at the Rural Federation of Uruguay.

H.E. Terhi Hakala 
H.E. Terhi Hakala

Ambassador Hakala was appointed Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office, WTO and other international organizations in Geneva in September 2016. Prior to that she served as Director-General of the Department of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. A career diplomat, Ms. Hakala, has also served as Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, among other senior assignments.

Alicia Bárcena 
Ms. Alicia Bárcena

Alicia Bárcena assumed office as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean - ECLAC, on 1 July 2008. She had previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at the UN Headquarters in New York, Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. Prior to her time at ECLAC, Ms. Bárcena served as Co-ordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Programme of the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP. Ms. Bárcena has published numerous articles on sustainable development, public policy, environmental issues, and public participation.

Isabelle Durant 
Ms. Isabelle Durant

Isabelle Durant took up the position of Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD on 3 July 2017. Prior to her time at UNCTAD, Ms. Durant served as Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Transport and Energy for four years. Ms. Durant was Vice-President of the European Parliament for the period 2009 to 2014 and a Belgian Senator from 2003 - 2009. Immediately prior to becoming Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Ms. Durant was a member of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Simonetta Zarrilli 
Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli

Simonetta Zarrilli is the chief of the Trade, Gender and Development Programme of UNCTAD and the organization's Gender Focal Point. Prior to taking up these responsibilities in 2010, Ms. Zarrilli worked on a broad number of trade and development related issues, such as energy, biotechnology and trade and environment. She has authored and published studies, organized intergovernmental meetings and delivered capacity-building activities in these areas of work.

Interpretation will be provided in French and Spanish·.

*Additional registration required for this event: http://tsds.ictsd.org/register

In Partnership With  
Government of Sweden  
Government of Finland  


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(UNCTAD/GDS/2014/1) - 25/02/2015 - 1259 KB  
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Co-organized with:UNCTAD, ICTSD, Government of Sweden and Government of Finland
Language(s):English; French; Spanish;
Simonetta Zarrilli
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