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Women-supporting trade policies need better data, experts say
The idea that governments around the world must support women as traders, workers and entrepreneurs to drive international commerce has been recognized in several multilateral agendas in recent years, but experts say that a data gap needs to be filled before the most effective policies can be designed. The issues were discussed at a session of the World Trade Organization’s Public Forum in Geneva in October, organized by UNCTAD, that brought together leading statisticians and policymakers. “We know that the impacts of trade policies are not evenly distributed by gender,” the head of UNCTAD’s statistical branchSteve MacFeely said. “While several agendas – such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on aligning financing flows with economic, social and environmental priorities – signal an international commitment to female empowerment in trade, lack of data and statistical capacity gaps prevent accurate monitoring of the nexus between gender and trade,” he said. Disentangling the multidimensions of trade policy on gender is notoriously tricky, posing several statistical challenges for defining the variables and linking them together. “Lack of information makes policies less effective or even ill-targeted which may exacerbate gender disparities,” Mr. MacFeely said.