WCO promotes Gender Equality and Diversity

Gender Equality and Diversity are fundamental rights outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) from 1948, are considered prerequisites for achieving sustainable development and growth; and for enhancing performance in organizations. Moreover, Gender Equality is a priority of the UN’s International Development Agenda for 2030, objective number 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which outlines the need for providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making.  Evidence further indicates that including gender equality and diversity in capacity building and development programmes contributes to improving the overall outcomes and to ensuring sustainability of activities. Based on the above, 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 the following initiatives:

  • 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 engage women’s organizations in the discussions on international trade.
  • 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.
  • 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 has received around 60 replies to this survey. The Secretariat continues to disseminate the survey to those Administrations that have not yet replied and is planning to disseminate a second survey by the end of 2018.
  • Launched the WCO Virtual Working Group for Gender Equality and Diversity with a specific section in the CliKC! Platform. The objectives of this working group are to gather good practices on gender equality and diversity initiatives implemented by Members, provide a platform for exchange of experiences, to raise awareness of the GEOAT and to discuss new ideas on how WCO further can promote gender equality and diversity in its work and activities. The Virtual Working Groups is open for assigned representatives from Members and holds meetings every 1-2 months via Skype.
  • Developed a blended training package on Gender Equality and its links to customs reform and modernization. Once fully developed, this package will include two tracks; a one week training targeting middle- and senior managers focusing on human resource management and gender mainstreaming; and a broader e-learning module focusing on raising general awareness on gender equality, targeting all Customs officers. The e-learning module is expected to be available in the CLiKC! Platform sometime by the end of 2018.
  • Hosted and attended a number of events on the topic of Gender Equality and Women in Trade including the “Women in Trade Network” organized at the WCO on the 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.   

More information on these initiatives can be found on the links below.

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