WCO promotes Gender Equality and Diversity

Gender equality and Diversity are fundamental human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) ratified in 1948 by the United Nation’s General Assembly. Since then Gender equality has been enforced in several international policy documents, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979.  Gender equality is also one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (objective 5) outlined in the International Development Agenda for 2030. This goal determines that providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making, contributes to enhancing sustainable economic growth and benefits societies as a whole.  Evidence also indicates that including Gender equality and Diversity in capacity building and development programmes contributes to improving the overall outcomes and to ensure sustainability of activities. Based on these conclusions, the WCO finds it essential to make Gender equality and Diversity one of the priorities in its capacity building agenda.

To promote Gender Equality and Diversity the WCO has launched several initiatives:

  • Developed the Gender Equality Organizational Assessment Tool (GEOAT) which aims at assisting Customs Administrations with the assessment of their policies, practices and activities to address gender equality issues as an integrated part of their reform and modernization agenda.
  • Incorporated a specific module addressing Gender Equality and Diversity in the Leadership and Management Development (LMD) Programme.
  • Hosted a large international conference on Women in Customs, Trade and Leadership” in July 2013, gathering 160 participants from 50 countries, addressing issues such as challenges faced by women traders and the need to engaging women’s organizations in the discussions on international trade.
  • Hosted a meeting of the “Women in Trade Network” on 8 September 2016, gathering more than 100 participants, focusing inter alia on promoting proactive engagement of women in topics related to global trade with the European Union Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström as a guest speaker.   
  • Celebrated the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March on several occasions, most recently on occasion of the 8th session of the Capacity Building Committee, inviting key note speakers H.E. Grace M. Mutale Kabwe, Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to Belgium and Ms. Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir, Chairperson of the WCO Integrity Sub-Committee from Iceland Customs.
  • Addressed Gender equality during a seminar on Equal Pay at the Icelandic Embassy on the 10th of March 2017.
  • Disseminated a Gender Equality and Diversity survey, to all Member Administrations, in October 2016, to gather data on the gender balance within Customs Administrations, to get a better understanding on how advanced Members are in this area and to collect material that could be used when updating WCOs instruments and tools.

The WCO is looking forward to further promoting Gender equality and Diversity in its activities and invites its Members keep the Secretariat informed of any initiatives taken in this regard.

Contact: capacity.building@wcoomd.org