Trading Stories

Experiences with Gender and Trade

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Through twenty regional and country case studies, Trading Stories pulls together the key links between trade, gender and economic development. Ten case studies focus on the gender impacts of trade policies, detailing differential consequences on men and women; and ten focus on linking women with global markets – including FairTrade, organic, niche and mainstream markets – through a range of best practices involving government, NGOs, people’s organisations and associations, private sector and international agencies.

The book draws on three recent Commonwealth Secretariat publications on gender and trade: Gender Mainstreaming in the Multilateral Trading System; Chains of Fortune: Linking Women Producers and Workers with Global Markets; and Gender and Trade Action Guide and is a useful addition to the growing body of evidence that will help governments to effectively mainstream gender in their trade policy.



Introduction to Part Two

As was seen in the previous set of case studies, much of the literature on gender and trade has focused on the negative impact of trade policies on women as producers and workers, and on women as consumers, homemakers and care-givers. For example, many traditional non-farm enterprises operated by women, such as basket-making and the processing of cooking oils, are dis - appearing as a result of import competition; and women’s ability to grow food is decreasing as farmers devote more land to commercial export crops and as women’s labour shifts from food production into unpaid labour on family farms producing crops for export. Women’s work on plantations and in factories producing for export is becoming increasingly less secure as globalisation fuels the ‘race to the bottom’ in which intense competition drives down wages even lower than they already are; and women’s time poverty is increased as health services are privatised and women take on added responsibilities in caring for the sick and elderly (Carr and Chen, 2004).


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