Online course on trade and gender: The gender impact of technological upgrading in agriculture

23 November - 13 December 2020


Trade and trade liberalization policies tend to affect men and women differently. They yield important redistributive effects within the economy, which can either magnify or reduce existing disparities among groups, including between men and women. In the agricultural sector, women are involved in production and trade in multiple ways: as contributing family workers, as farmers on their own account, as entrepreneurs running on- and off-farm businesses, and as wage workers. They constitute over 60 per cent of the work force in agriculture in low-income countries and about 30 per cent in middle-income countries.

Although agriculture is key for women’s livelihood, men and women tend to hold different economic roles in the sector due to various forms of gender bias. In particular, agricultural technology is deeply gendered, from its inception in research and development to its diffusion, access, and adoption. Technology can be crucial in supporting women’s participation in higher-value activities in regional and global agrifood chains and in fostering ecologically sustainable agricultural practices. However, women face many gender-based barriers to accessing technologies, and available technologies often fail to meet their particular needs.

In an effort to increase awareness on the links between trade, gender and agricultural technology innovation, UNCTAD developed an online course on “The Gender Impact of Technological Upgrading in Agriculture”. The course builds on UNCTAD’s portfolio of online courses on trade and gender and on the framework developed in previous teaching modules. This new course bears on two interrelated topical areas of great significance for women’s economic wellbeing and participation in trade: agriculture and technology.
The online course will be offered from 23 November to 13 December 2020. It is open to all stakeholders from developing countries. A limited number of applications from developed countries' stakeholders will be considered. The course will be managed and tutored by the Trade, Gender and Development Programme of UNCTAD.


The course aims to provide participants with the knowledge needed to analyse the interplay between trade and gender, to examine the effects of agricultural technology on women’s participation in production and trade, and to identify the constraints influencing women’s adoption and use of agricultural technologies. The course will ultimately provide participants with the tools to produce gender-aware policy recommendations.

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to achieve the following objectives:

  • Understand why gender matters in the economy.
  • Describe the two-way relationship between gender and trade.
  • Appreciate the impact of gender inequalities in agriculture on production and trade outcomes.
  • Understand the relationship between technology and trade in agriculture, and explain why it matters in the process of economic development.
  • Know the types of technologies – from basic to advanced digital – used in agrifood value chains (from production to harvest and postharvest) and in sustainable agriculture.
  • Appreciate the implications of agricultural technology on women’s participation in production and trade.
  • Identify the constraints influencing women’s adoption and use of agricultural technologies, as well as possible solutions.
  • List policy recommendations to foster women’s access to technology and trade in agriculture.

The topics covered in this course are currently an active area of research in trade and development-related studies. An increasing number of researchers and policymakers are engaged in dissecting the relationship between trade and gender at the country level. Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to contribute to this relevant area of research and policy-oriented work.
A detailed description of the course content and timetable is provided in the annex.
Target audience and course prerequisites

The course targets policymakers, academiccs from universities and research centres, and representatives of civil society involved in policy formulation and implementation, research, teaching, advocacy or field work in the area of trade and gender, agriculture and technology. Qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply. The number of participants is limited to ensure appropriate support throughout the course.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a Master’s degree in economics, law, political science, international relations, agriculture, gender studies or related area.
  • Possess a good knowledge of English.

To successfully complete course activities, participants should plan to devote around 10 hours a week to the course.

Course fees and access to course material

Thanks to support from the Government of Finland, selected participants will be exempt from fees associated with access to the course and electronic tutoring services.

Participants who so request, will receive a hard copy of UNCTAD teaching manual "Trade and gender linkages: The gender impact of technological upgrading in agriculture", as well as course material on a USB key, free of charge. The course content may be run entirely from the USB key provided or online from the UNCTAD e-learning platform. An Internet connection is required to interact with the course tutor, complete the multiple-choice tests and submit the final essay.

Certificate of completion

Participants with passing grades in the course (75% correct answers for the multiple-choice tests and 65% for the final essay) will receive a certificate of completion. Participants who will complete the course with distinction will receive a personal communication to this effect.

Application information and deadline

Applications should be submitted by following the instructions at this link:

Applications must include a detailed curriculum vitae and a letter of nomination from the applicant’s institution indicating its support for the application and explaining how the applicant’s participation in the course will contribute to his or her future work and the work of the institution.

The deadline for application is 11 November 2020. Incomplete applications or applications received after the deadline will not be considered. For assistance with the online application process, please contact

Requests for further information or clarification about this course should be sent to: Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Programme, Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD. Email:

A selection committee will review each application and select the course participants based on the supporting documents and the relevance of the course to their work. Participants will be advised of their selection by 16 November 2020.

Content of the courses

The course is divided in two parts and is based on the teaching module “Trade and Gender Linkages: The Gender Impact of Technological Upgrading in Agriculture”, and includes:

  • Accompanying multimedia lectures;
  • Suggested additional readings on issues covered in the course;
  • An interactive forum.

To successfully complete the course, participants will be requested to pass multiple-choice tests at the end of each of the two parts of the module and draft a final essay of two pages in which they will apply their new knowledge to their country situation.

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23 Nov 2020
Teaching Material on Trade and Gender Linkages
(UNCTAD/DITC/2020/1) -  18 Aug 2020

Sponsor / funding:
With support from the Government of Finland



English  |    



Gender equality



Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli
Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Programme
Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD