Document Type


Publication Date



trade, gender, WTO, NAFTA, FTA, regionalism, women, human rights


This article focuses on an unresolved issue within international trade law and policy, namely whether there is a need to consider gender-differentiated impacts of trade agreements and if so, how such impacts should be addressed. The author argues in favor of a gender aware approach to trade, discussing this topic within the context of regional trade agreements (“RTAs”), which are being used increasingly as a route to economic integration among nations. While there is evidence of gender-differentiated impacts of trade liberalization, there has been little progress made in advancing an agenda to address gender issues at the level of multilateral trade negotiations through the World Trade Organization(“WTO”). The author suggests that gender issues might be better addressed at the regional level through RTA negotiations, citing several examples of recent developments reflecting a gender aware approach to support her claim. She cautions, however, that such efforts fall short of a comprehensive work program that would advance women’s equality in a truly meaningful way.