Summary of Trade and Women

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Despite the backlash against globalization, trade has the potential to lift the well-being of women. Trade can empower women, especially in developing economies, and help reverse past patterns of discrimination to boost national economic and social development. But the achievement of these outcomes is not clear-cut, according to researchers Ben Shepherd and Susan Stone. In this illuminating report, the authors offer important suggestions to analysts and policy makers on how to make globalization work for women.

About the Authors

Ben Shepherd leads the Developing Trade Consultants firm. Susan Stone directs a division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.



International trade has an impact on women in their roles as “consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and informal cross-border traders.”

Yet outcomes are not always positive for them. In theory, both men and women are better off from trade that reduces prices and provides them with more consumer choices. But an analysis of World Bank data, which examines the gender impact of global trade, finds that the benefits of trade do not necessarily accrue to women.

A significant challenge facing women as consumers is that they spend more of their incomes than men&#...

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