Gender mainstreaming in trade: good practices for governments

7 February 2023
ITC News

A first of its kind, ITC launched a network that supports capital-based governments with gender mainstreaming and peer-to-peer learning on initiatives that empower women economically.

Good practices on promoting women’s economic empowerment are being implemented across the world. However, so far there has been no platform for in-country stakeholders to share and learn about these good practices and inspire similar initiatives in other country contexts.

With support from the Government of the United Kingdom, the International Trade Centre (ITC) launched a global network of government focal points on trade and gender at a virtual event on 6 February 2023.

Capital-based focal points from 23 developing and developed countries have already joined the network.

The trade and gender network builds on good practices gathered through ITC’s SheTrades Outlook, a policy tool that helps governments assess and improve the policy ecosystem for women.

“Our aim is to create opportunities to engage and brainstorm new ideas on how to make trade work for women, increase visibility on trade and gender issues through awareness-raising events, and exchange lessons learned,” says Fiona Shera, Director of the Division of Sustainable and Inclusive Trade at ITC. “We are here to listen to your expectations and needs, and ITC stands ready to support.”.

Join the network!

In 2023, the network will roll out a series of workshops to strengthen the capacity of government officials on gender mainstreaming and promote peer-to-peer learning on several topics. Thematic areas will be derived from SheTrades Outlook’s repository of over a hundred good practices, with each workshop led by one country.

“This could include capacity-building for women entrepreneurs, e-commerce and digitalization of products, and supporting women to secure more government contracts, to name a few,” adds Shera.

Underscoring the United Kingdom’s support for the network, Marc Ducroquet-Lavin, Head of Trade and Gender Equality at the UK Department of International Trade, says: “SheTrades Outlook enables us to share best practices and learn from each other in an interactive and practical way. We are excited to be part of this network and learn from like-minded partners… We look forward to working together in the coming months and years.”

Following the network’s launch, ITC conducted its first workshop, led by Nigeria. Sarah Kwamegh, Principal Trade Promotion Officer of the Export Inclusiveness Division at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), shared the Council’s experience in creating an export development programme for women.

“Mapping existing women business associations, women's groups in your country to reach the informal network, partnering with the right stakeholders, and enabling access to information – especially also among the younger generations of women – are key”, states Kwamegh.

Membership in the trade and gender network is open all year round to all capital-based officials from ministries responsible for women’s economic empowerment.

ITC invites countries committed to gender equality to nominate their respective focal points to join the network. Interested countries may indicate their interest by writing to Judith Fessehaie, Head of the ITC Women and Trade Programme, at womenandtrade [at] intracen.org (womenandtrade[at]intracen[dot]org).