International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


An Equal Seat at the Table

Gendering Trade Negotiations

This paper examines the importance of gender equality in trade and asks if an increase in the participation of women in senior roles in trade negotiation processes can result in more gender-equitable trade outcomes. There is now well-established evidence that international trade has a differential impact on women and men across different sectors. These different impacts are driven by a number of factors, including access to resources, endowments, skills levels, regulatory processes, rights and entitlements, that are sometimes enshrined in law, as well as social norms and values. The impact of trade also depends on the goods and services produced within sectors and on whether production occurs in the formal or informal sector, which has implications for the ways in which women and men are employed. This paper presents a statistical analysis of the gender profile of trade negotiators at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and considers whether or not better representation of women in senior roles at the WTO, aligned with an improved trade policy framework at national and regional levels, could result in more gender-equitable trade outcomes.


Keywords: gender equality, WTO, trade outcomes, trade negotiations
JEL: F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
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