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Why international trade and women can take over the world: this is everything you need to know about female business empowerment

Why international trade and women can take over the world: this is everything you need to know about female business empowerment

Table of content

Can Latin women export and import to and from the United States? This is an x-ray of what is happening on the international scene and how the world and policies are advancing so that female empowerment is a maxim of Latin American societies.

Female business empowerment has had significant repercussions in recent years; Policies have been created -in some countries of the world, especially those with the highest rate of development- that favor and establish competitive conditions, and that have resulted in societies where women have greater visibility.

And it is that conservative societies, historically, have placed women in deeply unequal roles, tainted by a gender condition that has not only conditioned their lives in family environments, but also in their roles in culture, thus shaping patriarchal traditions that they have even permeated world trade.

This change in mentality has to do with feminist and context struggles that have recognized a different working condition in the role of women.

These labor modifications that spread through the societies of some countries, began during and after the Second World War where, among other things, the representation and female roles in war were evidenced. To cite a few examples, the American society where the vast majority of women became a giant labor force for the manufacture of war and household products. On the other hand, the role of women in the Soviet Union: snipers, tank operators, nurses, builders, manufacturers who fought not only on the front lines, but also in the most intimate spheres of society.

That is why every policy and cultural action that is carried out in societies to generate greater participation of women in trade is decisive in promoting and growing markets.. However, these struggles are due, as we have already said, to the context, geopolitical and cultural situations.

The pandemic, for example, has resulted in order cancellations and factory closures in manufacturing countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. As a result of this dynamic, consequences in the markets that are mostly directed by women: higher tariffs on clothing -what is known in the market as ´Pink Tariffs´-, a bias that generates problems in the export lines and results, as is evident, in fewer jobs for women.

According to a study conducted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank, trade has improved the standard of living for billions of people, many of whom are women. Let's look at some data: in developing countries, women represent 33% of the workforce in companies involved in international trade, compared to only 24% in non-exporting companies. In other words, trade generates better jobs for women.

Workers in developed and emerging economies are 50% more likely to get formal jobs if they work in sectors that trade more or are more integrated into global value chains. This means, says the document, that the countries that are more open to trade, according to the relationship between trade and gross domestic product, have higher levels of gender equality.

What do these entities recommend to strengthen the incidence of women in world trade?

  1. Reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to merchandise trade.
  2. Increase women's access to markets.
  3. Promote cross-border trade through trade facilitation and finance.
  4. Mitigate business risks faced by women.
  5. Promote collective efforts that result in the economic empowerment of women.
  6. Formulation of policies on gender and trade.
  7. Gender provisions in preferential trade agreements.
  8. Private sector initiatives for gender equality.

These recommendations are based on the understanding and incidence of international trade represented by women. There are a few trends, says the report, that can be harnessed by women entrepreneurs around the world: the growth of services, the rise of global value chains and the expansion of the digital economy.

Some countries like the United States, from its Department of Commerce, from the International Trade Administration, promote projects such as the Women´s Global Trade Empowerment, where women from around the world can access a Women's Export Academy that aims to increase the participation of women-owned and women-led businesses in exporting and create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs to achieve economic equality.

An opportunity for Latin American businesswomen who want to do business in the USA and who want their employees to be trained on export strategies, tools and resources to enter new markets; information on how to create an export-friendly digital presence and guidance on package flows and preparation of export shipments.

In closing, three key takeaways from the World Bank/WTO study:

  • "Trade raises women's wages and promotes economic equality."
  • “Removing barriers to trade that prevent women from accessing international markets can help them increase their participation in and benefits from trade.”
  • Trade policies alone cannot always encourage women's participation in trade. In order to increase the capacity of women to participate in trade, it is essential to have complementary policies that improve their access to education, financial resources, digital technologies, information and infrastructure.
Diego Prieto
Press Officer

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