Photo: WTO

WTO members join forces in Buenos Aires to empower women through trade

Yesterday at the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, 118 WTO members and observers joined together in support of the Ministerial Declaration on trade and women’s economic empowerment, seeking to economically empower women through participation in international trade. Actions taken to follow up this Declaration will also contribute to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve gender equality through the empowerment of girls and women. The Declaration in its entirety can be read below:

Acknowledging the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into the promotion of inclusive economic growth, and the key role that gender-responsive policies can play in achieving sustainable socioeconomic development;


Acknowledging that inclusive trade policies can contribute to advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, which has a positive impact on economic growth and helps to reduce poverty;


Acknowledging that international trade and investment are engines of economic growth for both developing and developed countries, and that improving women’s access to opportunities and removing barriers to their participation in national and international economies contributes to sustainable economic development;


Acknowledging the need to develop evidence-based interventions that address the range of barriers that limit opportunities for women in the economy; 


Recalling Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and


Reaffirming our commitment to effectively implement the obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979;


We have agreed to collaborate on making our trade and development policies more genderresponsive, including by:


1. Sharing our respective experiences relating to policies and programs to encourage women’s participation in national and international economies through World Trade Organization (WTO) information exchanges, as appropriate, and voluntary reporting during the WTO trade policy review process;


2. Sharing best practices for conducting gender-based analysis of trade policies and for the monitoring of their effects; 


3. Sharing methods and procedures for the collection of gender-disaggregated data, the use of indicators, monitoring and evaluation methodologies, and the analysis of gender-focused statistics related to trade;


4. Working together in the WTO to remove barriers for women’s economic empowerment and increase their participation in trade; and


 5. Ensuring that Aid for Trade supports tools and know-how for analysing, designing and implementing more gender-responsive trade policies. 


Over the next months, we will hold a series of seminars in coordination with relevant international organizations to explore and discuss, among others, the following themes related to trade and the economic empowerment of women:

  • The promotion of female entrepreneurship and trade;
  • The identification of barriers that limit women’s participation in trade; 
  • The promotion of financial inclusion as well as the access to trade financing and financial assistance for women traders;
  • The enhancement of women entrepreneurs’ participation in public procurement markets;
  • The inclusion of  women-led businesses, in particular MSMEs, in value chains; 
  • The impact of trade facilitation in providing equal access and opportunities for women entrepreneurs;
  • The inventory of information sources, their complementarity and the identification of data gaps.


In 2019 we will report on progress towards implementation of this joint declaration on trade and women’s economic empowerment.


For more information, please visit