Empowering Women through International Trade


In line with our goals on women’s empowerment through trade, amfori took part in the 2nd International Forum on Women and Trade hosted by the European Commission, Trade for Her: Empowering Women Through International Trade in Brussels on 30 September. Keynote speakers included the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström and Arancha Gonzalez – Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The objective of the Conference was to find out how to achieve greater involvement of women in international trade and look into the results of the first-ever study analysing challenges for women engaged in international trade in the European Union and beyond authored by ITC.

amfori was represented by President Christian Ewert who joined the first panel discussions on the ‘Challenges and Solutions to Empowering Women through Trade’.  

He highlighted that we can move the bar in empowering women through trade by increasing the number of female workers in global supply chains into management positions. He pointed out the strong business case for such actions. Indeed, amfori’s project partner in its Women’s Empowerment Programme, has succeeded in increasing business revenue, worker retention and reduced absenteeism by training women to be managers in factories.

amfori’s contribution to the discussion also draws from amfori’s commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards through, which amfori pledges to ensure that its actions and organisation become gender-responsive.

ITC study findings

An ITC study reveals that irrespective of size and industry, businesswomen looking to export beyond the EU are at a disadvantage in accessing finance, skills and business networks. This correlates with other ITC research conducted in other regions. It concludes that there is a need for greater intervention in trade policy as free trade agreements can be leveraged to strengthen political commitment and support women’s rights in the workplace.

amfori, supported the development of the study by reaching out to amfori member companies to contribute to a survey developed by ITC on the role of women in businesses in Europe.

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