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How to transform EU trade policy to protect women’s rights

The WIDE+ Gender and EU Trade Position Paper is available! It is the result of a year long collaborate work in the Gender and Trade Working Group.

WIDE+ Gender and Trade 2017 Position Paper - cover (460x600)

This paper critically examines contemporary European Union (EU) trade policy from a feminist perspective. It argues that current EU external trade policy is fundamentally harmful to the human rights of women, men and children and to the preservation of our planet. Its neoliberal core makes livelihoods more precarious, enhances inequalities, fosters financialisation of the economy, reduces access to medicines, undermines food sovereignty, and threatens environmental sustainability.

The paper aims to start uncovering how EU trade policy hinders the protection and promotion of women’s human rights. After a brief analysis of the interrelationships between international trade and women as producers, labourers, consumers, citizens and as environmental managers, the paper makes the following recommendations:

  1. Binding women’s rights articles in EU trade agreements
  2. Strengthen the protection of women’s rights over the rights of companies and investors: a halt to investor-state dispute settlement and limiting Intellectual Property rights
  3. Gender-sensitive binding regulations for Transnational Companies
  4. Women should be protected through putting a stop to agricultural liberalization in trade agreements
  5. Do not increase the care burden: stop with 'one-size-fits-all' privatization of social services and public goods policy in WTO and other trade negotiations
  6. Ensure a transparent participation of –women’s rights- Civil Society in trade negotiations and monitoring of agreements
  7. Sustainable Impact Assessments should have an encompassing gender human rights lens that isintersectional

Download the paper (PDF)

WIDE+ also spoke during the Parliamentarian hearing on gender and trade, 11 May, 2017:

Gea Meijers, spoke, on behalf of WIDE+ Working Group, at the European Parliament Hearing organized by the FEMM and INTA committees (women’s rights & gender equality and international trade). To read WIDE+ contribution: WIDEEP2017.

Listen to the hearing