UNCTAD, UN Women partner to promote gender-sensitive trade policy

15 Nov 2016, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


Participants in the online course will study why it is important to mainstream gender in trade policy.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UN Women have partnered to raise awareness on how certain trade policies can affect women and men. The two UN bodies have joined forces to develop a 4-hour online course called, "Trade and Gender Equality," to help policymakers understand the relationship between trade and gender and how trade flows can benefit both sexes.

In a statement released on Tuesday, UNCTAD 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.

"Women are key to the future of our world, and we need to support their success in all walks of life," UNCTAD's 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."

The course, which is free, can be studied either on its own, or as a module within a wider UN Women course, called "I Know Gender." Participants 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.

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

Among other issues, UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; empowerment of women; and achievement of equality between women and men. UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.


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