Mainstreaming Gender in Trade Policy: Practice, evidence, and ways forward

Gender-related provisions are becoming more and more common in trade agreements. But to what extent do they help —or hinder —efforts to achieve gender equality? This report analyzes the success of existing provisions to help maximize the impacts of future agreements.

By Caroline Dommen on November 18, 2021

Trade must be inclusive to contribute to sustainable development. This means there must be equal opportunities for women to benefit from trade, and women should not be more adversely impacted by trade or trade-related policies.

There is a growing willingness to “mainstream” concerns about trade’s gendered impacts in trade agreements. As these mainstreaming efforts gather momentum, it is useful to take stock of how well existing provisions on gender and trade contribute to gender equality. Defining metrics against which to gauge whether trade agreements are meeting gender equality objectives will enable us to identify and suggest ways to design gender-responsive measures for future agreements.

As such, this report analyzes different types of gender-related provisions in trade agreements. It proposes a gender equality framework to evaluate these provisions to ensure trade is gender responsive. It also describes mechanisms for anticipating the effects of planned trade agreements on women.

The report concludes by asking how our knowledge of the differential impacts of trade on women and men is—and can be—reflected in trade agreements in such a way as to promote inclusive trade, gender equality, and sustainable development.

Report details

Gender Equality
Focus area
IISD, 2021