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GST Knowledge Product Series



The multi-faceted crisis of the global health pandemic presents an opportunity to explore how trade policies, including the pursuit of free trade agreements (FTAs)1, can contribute to women’s empowerment in the context of economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 world.

Some existing FTAs seek to enhance women’s empowerment through the inclusion of gender-specific provisions of various kinds. This study presents a regional survey of these provisions and raises proposals for further advancement of gender-related issues in trade agreements.


Gender Gaps, Services Trade and Policy Tools to Contribute to Gender Equality (2021)

In developing economies, the service sector generates about 55% of national product and half of total female employment. Manufacturing, mining and agriculture account for the rest. Services also account for a significant share of exports, particularly when services that are traded indirectly, through their incorporation in exported goods, are included. Despite its predominance, little analysis has been done so far of the links between trade in services and employment outcomes by gender. This study aims to fill part of this gap. Authors: Andrea Lassmann and Nanno Mulder


Gender and investment agreements - building on best practices to include gender in investment agreements (2021)

This Guide explains how the regulation of FDI has evolved, why Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) needs to be addressed in international investment treaties and the ways in which this can be implemented, along with the associated challenges. It is a basic ‘crossover’ guide for audiences based in two very different domains of policymaking: investment law and policymakers and negotiators on the one hand and gender equality ministries and civil society stakeholders, on the other. Author: Kamala Dawar

La dimension de genre dans les accords d’investissement


Advancing Gender Equality through Voluntary Standards (2020)

One way to contribute to women’s empowerment in international trade and gender equality are voluntary sustainability standards. They have emerged as one of the main tools used to articulate, encourage and enforce sustainable and ethical practices in global value chains. Author: Sally Smith


Guidance Note - Data Analysis for Gender and Trade Assessments (2020)

The first step in gender-aware economic analysis involves building the statistical picture of an economy as a gendered structure. Such a picture, if appropriately disaggregated in terms of production sectors, workers’ and households’ characteristics can provide a useful baseline from which to track the direct and indirect effects of trade changes by gender. By highlighting existing inequalities, it can help assess whether proposed trade reforms and agreements are likely to redress or intensify bottlenecks to women’s access to economic resources and opportunities. It can also guide the selection of relevant indicators for ex-post monitoring. Author: Marzia Fontana

Guía para el análisis de datos sobre género y comercio


Primer on Gender and Trade (2020)

How has the regulation of international trade evolved and why is there are need for gender inequality and social inclusion to be addressed in rule-making for international trade? A basic ‘crossover’ guide for audiences based in two very different domains of policymaking: trade policymakers and negotiators on the one hand and gender equality ministries and civil society stakeholders, on the other. Autors: Susan Joekes with Alicia Frohmann and Marzia Fontana.

Genre et Commerce - Un Guide (2020)   

Manual sobre género y comercio (2020)

Other publications


OECD, Trade and Gender: A Framework of Analysis (2021)


Closing gender gaps makes good economic sense. Advancing the aim of women’s economic empowerment will require policy action across a wide range of areas, including increasing their participation in international trade. Although trade policies are not de jure discriminatory, they impact women and men differently due to dissimilar initial conditions. A framework is proposed for analysing the impacts of trade and trade policies on women that policy makers can use in order to ensure that trade and trade policies in their country support women’s economic empowerment.


International Trade Centre, Delivering on the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment. ITC, Geneva (2020)

Trade policy for women took an international leap with the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, endorsed by more than 120 countries at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference of 2017.
This report, produced under the auspices of the International Gender Champions’ Trade Impact Group, presents related findings: recommendations and 32 good practices for gender-based analysis, global value chains, public procurement, trade agreements, digital trade and financial inclusion.

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UN WOMEN, From Insight to Action. Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19. UN (2020)

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International Trade Centre, Mainstreaming Gender in Free Trade Agreements. ITC, Geneva (2020)

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Collection of resources and current reporting on gender and
gender data related to COVID-19
(click here)

Screenshot_2020-04-16 Women at the core

OECD, Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis (2020)

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UN, Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, United Nations (2020)


World Bank, Women, Business and the Law 2020 (2020)


CEPAL, Herramientas de política comercial para contribuir
a la igualdad de género
, Alicia Frohmann, our GESI Expert (2019)

Image by Markus Spiske

Making Trade Agreements Work for People with Disabilities: What’s been Achieved and What Remains Undone?

Trade agreements create both “winners” as well as “losers,” as they benefit some and leave
others without benefits or with negative ramifications. In particular, the distributional
outcomes of trade can vary between people with and without disability, since they generally
have different levels of access to and control over resources, and disparate abilities to access
and exercise their rights. Hence, if trade policies are designed without taking into account
their impact on who has power and opportunities and who doesn’t, these policies can magnify
the existing inequalities. It is therefore important that future trade agreements are
negotiated and implemented with an inclusive lens to ensure that people with disability have
equal access to the opportunities and benefits of international trade and that these
instruments are used as a tool to minimize any potential negative impact they might
otherwise have on people with disabilities.

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