Magazine article International Trade Forum

Gender Equality Benefits Women and Trade

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Gender Equality Benefits Women and Trade

Article excerpt

Norway requires that its partners in development cooperation, whether they are governments, international institutions or NGOs, demonstrate that they take women and gender equality seriously. A clear priority in Norway's Aid for Trade Action Plan is to promote the economic position of women. The International Trade Centre (ITC) is an important partner for Norway, not least because of its broad focus on women and trade and gender mainstreaming policy.

All women must have the same opportunities as men. This is a matter of fundamental human rights, but also of sound economic policy. There are several explanations for Norway's transition to prosperity. However, one of the key factors behind this transition is the empowerment and participation of women. Today, three out of four women are employed in the labour market in Norway. This is one of the highest rates of female employment in the world. People tend to think that Norway is rich because of its natural resources. That is only partly true. Just as important for our economic success is the fact that we have chosen policies that allow women to make independent decisions; policies that give women equal opportunities in education and work, including through the provision of childcare.

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Development and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities are closely linked to gender equality. Data shows that in global terms women are more significant as drivers of economic growth than China, India or the Internet. There is a fortune to be made by promoting equal rights for women! Governments that uphold discriminatory laws and exclude women from the workforce should be aware that such practices come at a price. That price is much lower living standards and levels of welfare for society as a whole.

Globalization and trade can, and do, play important roles in increasing female employment rates and in achieving greater gender equality. …

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