119 Nations Back Moved on to Remove Women’s Limitation in Trade

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Women in Business

Nearly three-fourths of the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO) has supported women’s empowerment. They removed the barriers limiting women’s entrance into the trade – an historic-making decision, according to the global body.

However, India comes under minority group though it’s influential in WTO. India will not choose to endorse the move. While, now as it supports gender equality, it can’t agree gender can be a trade-related issue.

India agreed to link gender and trade as it could lead to advanced countries using their high standards in gender-related policies. But also it will indirectly restrict developing countries from making women citizens as part to address challenges, Indian officials said.

They added gender-based must not be held at WTO but at appropriate fora. Otherwise, the non-trade issues will shoot up to such as labor and environment standards into the WTO’s ambit, the officials said.

Meanwhile, a WTO statement on Tuesday said, “For the first time in the history of the WTO… 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the ‘Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade’. This seeks to remove barriers to, and foster, women’s economic empowerment.” It added, “Actions outlined in the Declaration will… provide more and better-paid jobs for women. These actions will also contribute to UN Global Development Goals, including the Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality through the empowerment of women and girls.”

Women Say to World Trade Organization Committee As ‘Pink Herring’

However, more than 160 women’s rights and organizations globally shouted that the declaration fails to address the adverse impact of World Trade Organization rules on women. Instead appears to be designed to mask the failures of the WTO and its role in deepening inequality and exploitation,” Kate Lappin, Global Coordinator, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development said in a statement. She further added, “women’s rights organizations from all continents have rejected this declaration as simply a ‘pink herring’.”

Joms Salvador, GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women, Philippines, said, “we reject WTO’s gender washing aimed at making palatable neoliberal policies. These will inflict deep sufferings on women from poor and underdeveloped countries.”

WTO members and observers have agreed to explore and find ways to tackle optimal participation of women in markets. “The inclusion of women-led businesses, in particular, small firms, in value chains” has set as a theme. This will relate trade and economic empowerment of women. Within the context of WTO, members will take their own policies through a gender lens. The whole progress will come to light in 2019.