Measuring the Gender-Responsiveness of Free Trade Agreements: Using a Self-Evaluation Maturity Framework

Mexico - 1 January 2020

Trade topics: Gender and Trade

In the recent years, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of free trade agreements (FTAs) with gender-related provisions. The key champions of this evolution include Canada, Chile, and the European Union. These countries have proposed a new paradigm, i.e., a paradigm where FTAs are considered vehicles to achieving the economic empowerment of women. This trend is spreading like a wild-fire to other parts of the world. More and more countries are expressing their interest in ensuring that their FTAs are gender-responsive and not simply gender-neutral or gender-blind in nature. The momentum is on, and we can expect many more agreements in the future to include stand-alone chapters or exclusive provisions on gender issues. This paper is an attempt to tap into this ongoing momentum, as it puts forward a newly-designed self-evaluation maturity framework to measure gender-responsiveness of trade agreements. The proposed framework is to help policy-makers and negotiators to: (i) measure gender-responsiveness of trade agreements; (ii) identify areas where agreements need critical improvements; and (iii) receive recommendations to improve the gender-fabric of trade agreements that they are negotiating or have already negotiated. This is the first academic intervention presenting this type of gender-responsiveness model for trade agreements.