In an effort to promote gender inclusivity and a better understanding of the link between trade and gender issues, the World Trade Organization (WTO) recently completed a two-day training course for government officials from Geneva-based permanent missions. This unique training initiative aimed to equip delegates, including trade officials, counsellors, and ambassadors, with the knowledge and tools needed to integrate gender considerations into the daily work of the WTO.
The course, held on October 20, marked a significant step in bridging the gap between trade policy and gender-related concerns, offering participants an opportunity to explore how trade rules impact women. Through lectures and collaborative brainstorming sessions, delegates delved into the practical aspects of incorporating gender issues into the work of WTO delegates and permanent representatives.
One of the primary objectives of the training was to enhance the capacity of participants to strengthen the activities and impact of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender. Delegates were introduced to various gender-responsive trade policymaking tools and provided with insights into data trends related to trade and gender.
Ambassador Pimchanok Pitfield of Thailand expressed her appreciation for the course, emphasizing its novel approach in linking the gender debate to trade and WTO rules. She noted that the training had generated ideas about potential actions that can be taken within the WTO to address trade rules in ways that benefit women.
Essate Weldemichael, Advisor and Special Assistant to the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, praised the course for its comprehensiveness, practicality, and structure. She particularly highlighted the importance of gender-sensitive data collection, capacity building, and gender impact assessments in shaping trade policies that address the needs and concerns of women.
Carlos Guevara, Counsellor of the Mission of Ecuador to the WTO, found the course to be engaging and thought-provoking. He emphasized the value of such activities in facilitating a deeper understanding of the connections between trade and gender and promoting cross-cutting discussions on gender issues within his work portfolio.
Tejaswinee Burumdoyal, Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Mauritius, appreciated the experience-sharing among participants and the course's emphasis on research and analysis conducted by the WTO on trade and gender. She noted that the training had empowered her to advance her government's feminist economic policies.
The training course, conducted in English, welcomed government officials from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In the coming year, the WTO plans to offer more training opportunities on trade and gender, including an in-person course for Spanish-speaking officials scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. These efforts are part of the WTO's Trade & Gender 360° Strategy, which aims to enhance capacity building and awareness on trade and gender issues.