CDB Urges Continued Focus on Gender Mainstreaming in Trade

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Regional trade policymakers are calling for further sensitisation and education on gender mainstreaming in their respective territories as they came to the end of Day two of Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB) seminar on Gender Mainstreaming in Caribbean Trade Policies and Programmes, now on in Barbados. This, as delegates from across the region, looked at recent statistics, challenges and best practices relating to gender equality and mainstreaming in trade and commerce. The day's presentations allowed the trade experts to assess where their territories are currently positioned as it relates to gender mainstreaming and to identify possible needs and next steps in the way forward. Lead facilitator, Meg Jones, Senior Officer, Millennium Development Goals at the International Trade Centre (ITC), charged the participants to use the information they receive during the CDB seminar, to guide their work and decisions going forward in the area of trade in their respective countries. The ITC representative shared on the importance of implementing Gender-Sensitive Value Chain Analyses as one way of ensuring gender mainstreaming in trade policy development. This method includes an examination of gender roles at each step required to bring a product/service from conception to consumption. This approach is expected to effectively identify where there are gender inequalities and where investment in training is really needed in the given process. Denise Noel-DeBique, Gender Equality Advisor at CDB said the region is on the cusp of change linked to global debates to inform a new sustainable development agenda. She told the delegates, "This workshop is a signal moment in advancing CDB's work in building awareness and positioning policy makers for integrating gender in the context of trade. We look forward to continuing to build on this at the national level to further this transformative process." The workshop looked at research data provided by Professor Miguel Carillo of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad and Tobago. Using the Global Enterpeneurship Monitor (GEM), Professor Carillo shared that the most recent international data confirms that there is still a gender gap worldwide in the area of trade and business. He explained that women entrepreneurs struggle at the point of transforming their businesses from the early stages into established companies. Professor Carillo told the participants that while women are more inclined to start a business as a means of providing for their families, they showed less confidence than men in their capacity to succeed in business. These statistics were followed by a call from the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) for greater input from a wide range of stakeholders in coming up with effective trade policy. The CPDC's representative, Shantal Munro-Knight said certain groups in society are still not given the space for effective participation in stakeholder engagement and as a result, the importance of the gender perspective is not always fully understood. She told the seminar participants that there is lack of coherence between trade and economic policy and social development policy in the region. According to Munro-Knight, "Trade policy cannot be simply (decided and) announced by governments. Policy must be a clear and thought-out process." Using the Ugandan model, the ITC's Jeanette Sutherland then shared on critical factors needed to ensure a gender-sensitive export strategy. The four-day seminar, co-hosted by CDB and ITC, runs from June 16th to June 19th at the CDB Headquarters. The overall objective is to increase awareness of the value of mainstreaming gender into the Caribbean's trade and economic development agenda, and to improve participants' gender mainstreaming skills. The event targets senior policy makers from the Ministry of Trade and operational staff from other trade support institutions and agencies within CARIFORUM Member States.

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