Panel organised by the Saana Institute at the ICTSD Trade and Development Symposium 2015 alongside the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference
08.30-10.00, Tuesday 15th December, Hilton Nairobi
Across the developing world, women participate significantly in trade – managing exporting firms, producing products destined for international markets, and transporting small and large consignments across borders. Yet despite their active participation in this sector, women face a number of gender–based constraints that undermine their economic activities, their profits, and their potential to grow their business. These include among others lack of access to capital, skills, production inputs and market information and international trading networks, the threat of harassment and extortion when crossing borders and the challenge of balancing their business with household duties.
There is substantial evidence that increasing women’s participation in international trade is key to long-term sustainable and equitable growth: income earned by women is critical to their households, including the education and health of their children, as women re-invest up to 90% of their earnings in their families and communities, often employing other women and setting off a positive chain reaction.
This is recognised by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls and a number of the underpinning targets. In Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, governments and their development partners are already working to introduce new programming and policy reforms at the national and international levels, providing training and capacity building to trade support institutions and women’s associations, and equipping female entrepreneurs with the necessary information, skills and capital.
Through the UN Global Compact, corporations are also contributing to these efforts, and over 1000 companies have so far signed up to the Women’s Economic Empowerment principles championed by UN Women. However, much more remains to be done to ensure that no discrimination against women exists in law and in practice anywhere in the developing world so that women are able to fully contribute towards inclusive and sustainable development through trade.
This session highlighted some of the trade-related constraints and obstacles that still exist for female traders and entrepreneurs in various countries and regions, and explained why tackling these is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers also suggested specific policy reforms and programming options for addressing and overcoming these obstacles, as well as reiterating their own commitments to scaling up efforts for promoting women’s economic empowerment through trade.
- Oscar Stenström, State Secretary, Ministry for Enterprise and Innovation, Sweden
- Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
- Elsbeth Akkerman, Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, Netherlands
- George Makore, Director for Enabling Environment, USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub and AECOM
- Lisa Karanja, Senior Director, Business Competitiveness, TradeMark East Africa
- Wanja Kiragu, Operations Director, East African Online Transport Agency
- Jane Mutiso, Managing Director, Woni Veg-Fru Exporters & Importers Ltd
- Moderator: Uduak Amimo
Watch a full recording of the session here
About the TDS Nairobi 2015
Held alongside the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December, the TDS is the largest multi-stakeholder platform reaching beyond the traditional trade community. It has been organised by ICTSD alongside each WTO Ministerial Conference since 2003, and has since become the main venue for open discussions and debate alongside WTO Ministerial Conferences. It provides an ideal setting to engage with policymakers, the private sector, NGOs, IGOs, think tanks, academia and civil society.
The Trade and Development Symposium (TDS), organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), is a platform for meaningful engagement with more than 1,500 key stakeholders in the trade and sustainable development community. The Saana Institute is our in-house think-tank at Saana Consulting, and we were proud to be a strategic partner of ICTSD in the organisation of this TDS Nairobi 2015 alongside the World Economic Forum, International Chamber of Commerce, TradeMark East Africa and the University of Nairobi.
Click here for more details on the event: http://tds.ictsd.org/