The Virtual Working Group on Gender Equality and Diversity discusses gender responsive and inclusive trade facilitation with private sector representatives

25 October 2021

The WCO Virtual Working Group (VWG) on Gender Equality & Diversity (GED) met through an online meeting on the 20th of October to discuss gender responsive and inclusive trade facilitation. The key point 4 of the WCO Declaration on Gender Equality and Diversity in Customs was recalled, which advocates for an enhanced cooperation with relevant stakeholders on the topic of GED, to foster a harmonized and coordinated approach in implementing a gender equal and inclusive Customs environment throughout the whole trade process.

The meeting provided an opportunity for representatives from 18 Customs administrations (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia,  Eswatini, Gambia, Guatemala, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Liberia, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, New Zeeland, Peru, Thailand and USA), to  discuss the links between gender, inclusion and trade, and how Customs through strengthened collaboration with different private sector stakeholder groups, can improve their services to better meet the needs of women traders and marginalized groups. Guest speakers from the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group were also invited to the meeting to share their insights on the importance of enhanced collaboration between the private sector and Customs.

The need for greater awareness on the different impacts, challenges and opportunities that trade policies can have on women and men was highlighted, as well as the benefits of mainstreaming gender into trade policies to enable women and other marginalized groups to benefit more from the opportunities that trade can bring. The unique challenges that women traders face entering the global business market were also stressed, and examples were provided from the WCO Gender Equality Organizational Assessment Tool (GEOAT) of what Customs can do to better meet these.

Members of the VWG were also provided with a brief update of the ongoing work at the WCO, including the current development of a second e-learning module on how to implement gender equality and inclusion in Customs and the recent organization of the Women in Customs event, held on the 24th of September, as the first event part of the new initiative to establish an Network for Gender Equality and Diversity in Customs.
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