Making Gender-Responsive Free Trade Agreements

The Conference Board of Canada, 72 pages, January 25, 2019
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This report examines recent initiatives by Canada and other countries to integrate gender equality into trade agreements and suggests nine recommendations for negotiating future agreements in a more gender-responsive manner.

Document Highlights

International trade can affect different groups of people quite differently. Businesswomen may face legal, economic, cultural, and family constraints that can hamper their ability to gain from trade on an equal footing with men. With Canada’s new progressive trade agenda, the Government will aim to distribute trade benefits among all Canadians and address social and economic inequalities by supporting the participation of women and other traditionally under-represented groups in global trade. Recent trade deals with Chile, Israel, and the United States and Mexico reflect Canada’s efforts.

This report examines recent initiatives by Canada and other countries to integrate gender equality into trade agreements by mapping out current innovative practices used in negotiating trade and gender chapters and mainstreaming gender equality considerations. The report suggests nine recommendations for Canada to use in negotiating future agreements or renegotiating existing agreements in a more gender-responsive manner.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1—Introduction

  • Defining Gender Equality in Trade

Chapter 2—The Impact of Trade on Women

  • Women as Workers
  • Women as Business Owners
  • Women as Consumers
  • Other Considerations

Chapter 3—Gender and Trade Nexus

  • Sustainable Economic Development
  • International Competitiveness

Chapter 4—Gender in Trade Agreements

  • Stand-Alone Trade and Gender Chapters
  • Mainstreaming Gender Throughout an FTA

Chapter 5—Recommendations

  • Recommendation 1: Adopt a Complementary Approach When Negotiating FTAs
  • Recommendation 2: Provide More Details on the Role, Mandate, and Activities of Gender Equality Committees
  • Recommendation 3: Craft a General Exception on Gender Equality
  • Recommendation 4: Formulate Gender Equality Objectives in Preambles
  • Recommendation 5: Provide a Framework for Gender-Responsive Technical Assistance
  • Recommendation 6: Protect Female Foreign Investors From Gender-Based Discrimination
  • Recommendation 7: Explore Gender-Responsive Government Procurements
  • Recommendation 8: Conduct a Gender Impact Assessment Prior to an FTA’s Entry Into Force
  • Recommendation 9: Make Gender Equality Obligations Enforceable

Appendix A—Bibliography

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