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Focus on gender in trade

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Focus on gender in trade

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REGIONAL TRADE POLICYMAKERS called for further sensitisation and education on gender mainstreaming in their respective territories as they came to the end of day two of the Caribbean Development Bank’s seminar on Gender Mainstreaming in Caribbean Trade Policies and Programmes, now on in Barbados.
Delegates from across the region looked at recent statistics, challenges and best practices relating to gender equality and mainstreaming in trade and commerce.
Lead facilitator, Meg Jones, senior officer, Millennium Development Goals at the International Trade Centre (ITC), shared on the importance of implementing gender-sensitive value chain analyses as one way of ensuring gender mainstreaming in trade policy development.
This method includes an examination of gender roles at each step required to bring a product or service from conception to consumption.
This approach is expected to effectively identify where there are gender inequalities and where investment in training is really needed in the given process.
Meanwhile, Denise Noel-De Bique, gender equality advisor at the CDB said the region is on the cusp of change linked to global debates to inform a new sustainable development agenda.
The workshop looked at research data provided by Professor Miguel Carillo of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad and Tobago.
Using the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Professor Carillo shared that the most recent international data confirms that there is still a gender gap worldwide in the area of trade and business.
He explained that women entrepreneurs struggle at the point of transforming their businesses from the early stages into established companies. Professor Carillo told the participants that while women are more inclined to start a business as a means of providing for their families, they showed less confidence than men in their capacity to succeed in business.
These statistics were followed by a call from the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) for greater input from a wide range of stakeholders in coming up with effective trade policy.
The CPDC’s representative, Shantal Munro-Knight, said certain groups in society are still not given the space for effective participation in stakeholder engagement and as a result, the importance of the gender perspective is not always fully understood.
She told the seminar participants that there is lack of coherence between trade and economic policy and social development policy in the region.
According to Munro-Knight, “Trade policy cannot be simply [decided and] announced by governments. Policy must be a clear and thought-out process.”
Using the Ugandan model, the ITC’s Jeanette Sutherland then shared on critical factors needed to ensure a gender-sensitive export strategy.
The four-day seminar, co-hosted by the CDB and ITC, runs from June 16 to June 19 at the CDB’s headquarters. 
The overall objective is to increase awareness of the value of mainstreaming gender into the Caribbean’s trade and economic development agenda, and to improve participants’ gender mainstreaming skills.
The event targets senior policy makers from the Ministry of Trade and operational staff from other trade support institutions and agencies within CARIFORUM Member States. (PR/NB)