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    Women and Trade: What are International Organizations Doing?


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2003

    ITC researched trade-related initiatives aimed at women that exist within the United Nations (UN) system, other international organizations and major non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In the following tables, researchers on women and trade development can find background and contact information for relevant initiatives, as well as links to research material available online. This selection focuses on some initiatives that help women participate in international business.

    ITC initiatives on women and trade

    Support to Women Entrepreneurs in the Service Sector
    Identify the trade support needs of women entrepreneurs in the service sector in developing countries and develop approaches to meet their needs.
    Workshops in Mauritius, Mozambique and Nigeria. Parallel research producing country reports with recommendations.
    Gender component incorporated in Services Exporting Programme.
    Two research papers: Linkages and Networks: The Role of Trade & Businesswomen's Networks and Gender Mainstreaming: The Role Entrepreneurs Can Play and Why It Is Important.
    Doreen Conrad, Head, ITC Trade in Services Unit
    ICT Training for Cameroon's Businesswomen
    Commonwealth Secretariat project
    Build sustainable training and counselling ser-vices for women entrepreneurs on how to apply practical e-solutions in their business strategies and improve the efficiency of their operations.
    Train-the-trainer workshops (July-October 2003) in Cameroon.
    Training materials for local women entrepreneurs.
    Four pilot training programmes scheduled for 2004 to train at least 80 women entrepreneurs.
    Lilia Naas, ITC Senior Trade Promotion Officer
    Programme for Building African Capacity for Trade - Gender Component
    ITC/Trade Facilitation Office Canada project
    Improve trade support institutions' capacity to support exporters by expanding their portfolio of services, drawing from the 'toolbox' of ITC and TFOC trade development services.
    Regional initiative on gender involving up to 15 African countries, to result in technical assistance programmes for women's business communities, building on existing training capacities, structures and networks.
    (First phase: January 2004-March 2005.)
    Elizabeth Merz, ITC Senior Trade Promotion Officer
    World Directory of Women Entrepreneurs Associations (2002)
    Facilitate contacts between associations of women entrepreneurs, particularly in developing and transition economies. Help entrepreneurs access information sources and support.
    Directory with contact details, information on the association, sectors of activities and services offered.
    Trilingual. Available on CD-Rom and in hard copy.
    Lilia Naas, ITC Senior Trade Promotion Officer
    Directory of Sources of Financing for SMEs (2002)
    Provide entrepreneurs, particularly women, with information about financing institutions and their services locally and in potential export markets.
    Listing of 239 institutions from 100 countries including developed, developing and transition economies.
    Contact details and information for each institution, along with information on bank and insurance products offered and the institution's specific requirements for granting credits.
    Available on CD-Rom and in hard copy.
    Lilia Naas, ITC Senior Trade Promotion Officer
    Trade Forum magazine on women and trade development
    Advocate on behalf of women entrepreneurs in trade; raise awareness of specific constraints; profile solutions; highlight national and international contacts.
    Case studies - women-owned firms; business associations; national strategies. Recommendations to bring businesswomen of developing countries into the mainstream.
    Partnership listings and contacts.
    Accompanying outreach programme to disseminate conclusions and encourage partnerships in their use.
    Magazine and related materials available in English, French and Spanish, in print and online: www.tradeforum.org
    Natalie Domeisen,
    ITC Senior Public Information Officer

    ITC Group on Gender and Trade Development
    Mainstream gender perspectives in ITC technical cooperation activities; exchange information; coordinate and monitor approaches.
    Forum for trends, events, initiatives.
    Sabine Meitzel,
    ITC Focal Point

    UN system and other international initiatives

    Economic and Financial Committee, UN General Assembly
    • Sustainable development and international economic cooperation: women in development - Report to UN General Assembly, 58th session, A/58/483/Add.1
    UN Task Force on Gender and Trade

    (Set up by the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality - IANWGE)


    • Mainstream gender in trade and trade policy
    • Enhance synergies among UN bodies
    Led by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, includes all UN Regional Commissions, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization, International Trade Centre, International Telecommunications Union, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization, UN Development Fund for Women, UN Research Institute for Social Development, World Bank, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization. Other non-UN agencies will join the Task Force
    UN Task Force on Gender and ICTs

    (Set up by IANWGE)


    • Establish an inventory of activities of all UN organizations in the area of gender and ICTs
    • Establish and monitor a systemwide strategy to include a gender perspective for the World Summit on the Information Society
    • Work on guidelines to advise IANWGE members on making their projects on ICTs gender-sensitive
    UNIFEM, UNDP, World Bank, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), ITC, FAO and UN Volunteers (UNV) with ITU as Task Manager

    Initiative related to women and trade:
    ' Compendium of Projects on Gender and ICTs within the UN System - Hosted by INSTRAW (http://www.un-instraw.org/en/research/ianwge/index.html)
    UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women)
    Initiatives related to women and trade:
    ILO (International Labour Organization)
    Initiatives related to women and trade:
    ITU (International Telecommunications Union)
    Initiative related to women and trade:
    OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
    Initiatives related to women and trade:
    • Conferences on women entrepreneurs - Resulted in recommendations to OECD members and non-members
    • Bologna Charter for SMEs - Refers to women entrepreneurs. In 2004, OECD will host another ministerial meeting for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more involvement of women entrepreneurs
    OWIT (Organization of Women in International Trade)

    • Non-profit professional organization designed to promote women doing business in international trade by providing networking and educational opportunities
    IGTN (International Gender and Trade Network)
    Initiative related to women and trade:

    AABWA (American and African Business Women's Alliance)
    • Businesswomen's organization focusing on developing skills in women that result in private sector-led trade between Africa and America
    GDRC (Global Development Research Centre)
    Initiative related to women and trade:
    • Improving Women's Access to Credit in Community Development Programmes - Links to case studies, projects, research papers and bibliographies on the subject of women's access to credit (http://www.gdrc.org/icm/wind/wind.html)
    DS (Institute for Development Studies)
    Initiative related to women and trade:

    Tanya Quinn-Maguire is responsible for dissemination and monitoring of ITC's public information materials. She researched and compiled these lists.