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Linking Gender and International Trade Policy: Is Interaction Possible?

Catherine Hoskyns

CSGR Working Paper 217/07 

February 2007




The issue of gender and trade is moving up the political agenda as a result of a number of factors, in particular the politicisation of trade policy, the links between trade and development and the expansion of trade to services. The commitment of some governments and international institutions to gender mainstreaming in all areas of policy, gives an opening for pressure and campaigning on gender issues. This targets policy-making forums in the European Union and the World Trade Organisation and governments, North and South. Despite this, disconnect continues and incomprehension remains on both sides of the divide. The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for this disconnect at both a conceptual and a practical level, and consider what measures are currently being taken which may begin to bridge the gaps. In this context it looks particularly at programmes to support women entrepreneurs and at the moves to monitor more carefully the effects and consequences of trade measures. It also examines new notions about ‘fair’ as opposed to ‘free’ trade and the significance of the Fairtrade movement for women’s empowerment.  This material suggests that although some more fruitful interaction is beginning to take place, the divide remains considerable. The attempts to cross it, however, represent one strand in the broadening campaign to make development more central to trade policy and to open up the bargaining process through which policy is negotiated.





Gender, international trade, gender mainstreaming, trade theory, development, Fairtrade movement, Economic Partnership Agreements.


Contact Details:

Catherine Hoskyns


S1.62, Social Studies

University of Warwick

Coventry CV4 7AL