World Customs Organization workshop “Women in Leadership” 2-5 July 2013

12 July 2013

Building on the Women in Trade, Customs and Leadership Conference on July 1, 2013 and the theme of "opening up opportunities for women through Customs reform and modernization, the World Customs Organization hosted a unique "Women in Leadership" workshop between July 2 and 5, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. The workshop was financially supported by the Finnish Government and the World Bank. 

27 participants from 22 Customs administrations, representing Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and Oceania participated in the workshop, which focused on gender equality concepts, personal self-awareness and effective means of influencing others. The WCO’s leadership and management development programme, which has been delivered in more than a dozen Customs administrations around the world, provided the foundations for this unique learning event. The workshop engaged the multinational group of participants through a mix of theoretical and background information, group work, reflection and debating.

During the last day of the workshop, participants and facilitators worked together to develop a gender equality assessment tool specifically for Customs administrations. This tool addresses a range of issues that affect women within Customs administrations as well as those dealing directly with Customs administrations as clients and / or traders. Participants were encouraged to use the tool within their own Administrations to assess the gender equality situation and to recommend constructive initiatives that will improve the situation for women within and outside of Customs. A commitment by one participant to "personally take up the initiative in my administration to champion its realization" was emblematic of the energy that participants took from the four-day workshop.