There are various channels of interaction through which the trade environment affects women's employment.
Trade openness often induces changes in the structure of production, with sectors producing for export expected to expand and other sectors sensitive to import competition expected to contract. This, in turn, causes changes in the level and distribution of employment of different categories of workers, including men and women, as well as in their remuneration. Hence, trade outcomes can be either beneficial (in the case of a reallocation in female intensive sectors) or, on the contrary, detrimental (in the case of a reallocation in male intensive sectors) to women.
Drawing from UNCTAD's work, the panel will discuss existing evidence of how the trade environment, and specifically export-oriented policies, has influenced the gender patterns of employment in selected countries.
The capacity to assess the nexus between trade and gender, including the likely impact of trade measures on women's employment opportunities and on the quality of their jobs, is essential for gender-sensitive policy-making.
UNCTAD, with the financial support of Finland and Sweden, has developed a number of knowledge tools to support countries in deepening their understanding of the links between trade and gender and in enhancing their ability to evaluate the potential effects of trade on women and formulate corrective or accompanying measures.
This panel provides an opportunity to discuss more broadly the impact of trade on women's employment patterns, wages and working conditions.