UNCTAD and UN WOMEN team up to train on trade and gender equality

15 November 2016

How does trade liberalization affect women? Or men? And how can we make trade flows better and fairer for both sexes?

The relationship between trade and gender is a complex one, but UNCTAD and UN Women have partnered to raise the understanding of these issues, by developing a 4-hour online course, "Trade and Gender Equality". The course is the latest addition to a wider UN Women course, called "I Know Gender".


"Women are key to the future of our world, and we need to support their success in all walks of life," UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General, Joakim Reiter, said.

"This course will help participants to understand how trade policy can be used to providing new opportunities for women," he said.

Trade liberalization can make food imports cheaper, for example, benefiting women as consumers. But women often form the large majority of a country's smallholder farmers, and cheaper food imports can erode their earnings.

Despite this, policy makers rarely discuss how the introduction of a new trade policy will impact women and men. So policy makers are introducing trade reforms without considering its impact on women.

"Trade affects different groups of the population in profoundly different ways based on gender, geographic location, social status, or ethnicity," said UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, Yannick Glemarec.

"But gender-sensitive trade policy can play a very positive role in moving us towards Goal 5, the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls," he added.

The "Trade and Gender Equality" course is based on a broader 7-week UNCTAD training package on trade and gender, aimed at a more specialized audience of policy-makers, academics and civil society representatives.

Participants on the free 4-hour module will study the relationship between trade and gender: how gender inequality can enhance or undermine trade performance, and how trade can impact women's well-being and economic empowerment. They will also learn why it is important to mainstream gender in trade policy, and how to do it.

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