Engendering International Trade - Gender equality in a global world
Text on the gender aspects of international trade and globalisation in general, and the positive and negative gains made by women.
Sonia Ruiz Garcia, November 2000
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Available evidence indicates that the ongoing process of trade liberalisation combined with the overall impact of the process of globalisation have positive consequences for women - they have access to new opportunities and autonomy, thanks to salary - but at the same time the processes of structural change to the global economy also carry new risks. There are increasing economic inequalities between countries as well as between different economic groups within countries, between women and men and among women as they form part of the differently privileged economic groups. Women face greater vulnerability and discrimination, due to unemployment and under employment, low levels of pay, skills, and education. They are often trapped in a cycle of poverty, leading to an increase in prostitution and new « slave trade ».
Trade expansion has the potential to be a powerful contributor to gender equality and human development goals. The challenge is therefore to identify and promote the conditions and the model of trade most beneficial to women and to identify the preconditions for women to benefit from trade liberalisation and expansion.