The Youth Trade Summit on Gender, held at the WTO on November 13-14, has set out to amplify the voices of young individuals, emphasizing their insights into women's economic empowerment. In an unprecedented move, the WTO has orchestrated this groundbreaking event, gathering young participants from around the world, recognizing their pivotal role in shaping nations.
Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang, speaking at the opening ceremony, underscored the significance of involving youth in discussions on this critical topic. "This is the first time the WTO is organizing such a landmark event involving young people from all over the world. They have a crucial role to play in shaping nations," stated DDG Zhang. The event's opening also featured Xiana Méndez Bertolo, Spain's Secretary of State for Trade, who emphasized the imperative of closing the gender gap. DDG Zhang emphasized the transformative role of trade in women's economic empowerment, stating, "Trade is a catalyst for women's economic empowerment. There is an increasing need to have more women in the global economy. The more they are involved, the more economies grow."
Backing these sentiments with data, DDG Zhang noted, "Increasing women's participation in the labor market to the same level as men's would raise many countries' GDP up to 34%." He highlighted the evolving landscape, with governments increasingly incorporating gender equality into development plans and trade policies. Recognizing the positive impact of women's economic empowerment on poverty reduction and development, DDG Zhang referenced the forthcoming Trade Policy Monitoring Report, which will spotlight these developments.
Echoing DDG Zhang's sentiments, Xiana Méndez Bertolo, Secretary of State for Trade at Spain's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, pointed out that reducing the gender gap in Spain could potentially lead to an estimated 18% increase in GDP. She commended the WTO's efforts to raise awareness among its members about integrating the gender perspective into negotiations. She cited the European Union's negotiations with Chile, where a dedicated gender chapter is included in an upcoming agreement, as an example of this commitment.
Ms. Bertolo stressed that promoting women's active participation in international trade aligns with principles of social justice and offers significant economic benefits. She highlighted the pivotal roles of data, networking, training, and financing mechanisms in achieving gender equality and enhancing competitiveness.
The Youth Trade Summit on Gender provides a platform for young professionals to share their viewpoints on trade and gender matters and facilitates dialogue with WTO member delegations, senior researchers, and global stakeholders in the field.
The opening session of the summit was moderated by Adriana Quiñones, Head of Human Rights and Development at UN Women.