WOMEN AND TRADE
The event at the Aid for Trade Global Review brought together government representatives from Georgia, Chile and Canada, as well as trade and gender experts from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank, and the Trade Law Centre, to discuss how to improve gender-related data collection.
In a keynote speech, Ambassador Stephen de Boer of Canada emphasized the need for “a solid foundation of evidence to support the development of policy and to track its implementation and impact.”
In recent years, Canada has begun to build its expertise in data collection and analysis on women in trade, he noted. Canada's approach relies on the interdepartmental collaboration between Statistics Canada, which gathers data on the country's economy, society and environment, and Global Affairs Canada, which has responsibility for trade policy and supporting Canadian exporters.
“Our work here at the WTO will help us build a solid base of data, best practices and experiences that are needed to support our efforts to enhance opportunities for women in international trade,” Ambassador de Boer said.
Anoush der Boghossian, Head of the WTO Trade and Gender Unit and Chair of the Gender Research Hub, recalled that data collection for women in trade is challenging for most countries. She pointed out that statistical analysis of trade often does not clearly distinguish between foreign and domestic trade or retail.
The lack of resources and trained statisticians, and the difficulty in capturing data from the informal sector, where most women run their businesses, also hamper the gender analysis of trade.
“As part of the WTO training programme on trade and gender, the Trade and Gender Unit brings awareness on this issue and presents a data collection questionnaire for governments to use as a guidance”, she said.
Anu Peltola, Acting Head of Statistics and Information at UNCTAD, reported on a research project linking existing data to gain new insights on gender equality in trade.
“National statistical authorities need some guidance on how to work together with customs, central banks, and different ministries who might be involved,” she explained. This data linking approach also “hinges on partnerships between international agencies to pull expertise and identify resources for this work. ”
Tengiz Tsekvava, former Deputy Executive Director of Geostat, presented Georgia's pilot project for using gender in trade methodology. Data between 2016 and 2020 have been analysed using micro linking of trade data with business statistics at the enterprise level.
This approach revealed that “high skill women workers were the most resilient to gender inequality, showing the highest employment ratio, and the lowest gender pay gap,” he said adding that “the production of gender-in-trade indicators allows researchers to analyse the gender situation from different angles.”
Heidi Stensland, Senior Private Sector Specialist at the World Bank, outlined a study on trade facilitation looking at two data gaps: the number of cross-border trading companies led by women, and the gender-specific challenges to cross-border trade.
“We saw that fewer women are aware that customs allow for pre-declaration of shipments prior to arrival. And we know that pre-declarations of goods save the trader's time and money.” Stensland added that the research also revealed that “fewer women are represented in trade associations who are used by government regulators to seek feedback on proposed changes to border processes and procedures”.
The Trade Law Centre is conducting a gendered analysis of the automotive, textile and agribusiness value chains in the African Continental Free Trade Area, noted its Executive Director, Trudi Hartzenberg.
“When we are looking at the transaction level, commercial data does link to ownership and management indicators so that we can actually track gender indicators and link them to the trade flows”, explained Hartzenberg. She also emphasized the value of survey data to get qualitative information that takes the research agenda forward.
Nelson Manuel Paredes, Head of the Commercial Information Department at the Undersecretariat of International Economic Relations of Chile, briefed on a research project on the participation of women in Chile's exports which involved the internal tax service — providing information at the level of each enterprise - and the export promotion agency Pro Chile, to find out about the gender ownership of businesses.
Thanks to this collaboration, a study on the participation of women-led companies in Chilean exports was launched in 2017 with a follow-up survey in 2019 on gender gaps and barriers to better support the participation of women in foreign trade.
Launched in May 2021, the WTO Gender Research Hub offers an open platform to disseminate research done on trade and gender for the use of policymakers and other WTO stakeholders. On 5-7 December, the WTO Trade and Gender unit and the WTO Gender Research Hub will organise the World Trade Congress on Gender, the first global research conference dedicated to trade and gender.
For more information about the Research Hub, consult its database on trade and gender, which hosts over 100 research papers.
The video playback of the second Think Up! session is available here.