Women Pioneers at the WTO pays tribute to women who have played a pioneering role in the activities of the WTO and the multilateral trading system over the last 25 years.
Their stories are inspiring to us all and will hopefully encourage future generations of young women to follow in their footsteps.
Illustrator: Marion Mazer
A career in multilateral negotiations can be exciting and fulfilling. In return, it demands commitment, hard work, focus and enduring passion. Multilateral trade is transformational. It is a force for good and has immense socio-economic relevance to billions of people across the world, but it needs our political goodwill and our total commitment.
Arancha González Laya
Trade is very male-dominated and there is also a growing awareness that women do not benefit from trade to the same extent as men. That has to change. It is changing, but not fast enough. And that's why I want to encourage every woman, every young girl who is interested in trade policy or trade-related matters to engage.
Elin Østebø Johansen
Given the huge challenges facing multilateral cooperation these days, young, smart, ambitious, multitasking women may exactly be what is needed in order to sustain this system for another 25 years.
Looking forward beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident that the organization will continue to work towards strengthening and improving the world trading system for the benefit of all. At the end of the day, it is the quality of the work that you do that counts regardless of gender, so work hard and work well, but when necessary, stand up for yourselves and don't back down.
Being the first female WTO Deputy Director-General, I had both the privilege and responsibility of making everyone understand that a more inclusive WTO is a more resilient one. The inclusion of women in trade must be intentional and should come from an understanding that both are interdependent.
Women Directors, 2020
Perseverance is very important, like a bamboo that we bend, but we will never break. So, we may fail from time to time and we may fall, but don't lose heart. Get right up and continue to move on.
Be driven. Be insistent. Be consistent. Be focused and be ambitious and an achiever, you will get where you want to be in the end.
Can you have it all? I'd say yes. But maybe not all at the same time. So, make your career in something that you care about and take the long view. Keep your eyes on the prize. Be ambitious but try not to get too impatient. And, finally, persist.
I would like to see this institution strive equally, if not more, for the next 25 years.
I'd like to say to young people who are looking to follow a similar career path: focus is everything, self-belief even more, and hard work is indispensable.
Suja Rishikesh Mavroidis
We saw the GATT transform to the WTO. The WTO is going to transform into something else. We need to have an organisation which is robust, forward looking, and, which can absorb risks.