AGARTALA: Integration of women in international trade and business and to ensure gender equality while crafting trade policies would further boost trade and business and accelerate the growth of women entrepreneurs, feel experts and industry body officials.
While participating in a virtual discussion on "Mainstreaming Shepreneurs in International Trade", the experts and various industry body officials emphasised that bridging the digital divide from a gender lens is important for the growth of women entrepreneurs along with trade and jobs.
The virtual discussion was organised late on Thursday evening by CUTS International, a Jaipur-based think-tank and NGO, to launch animation videos produced by the CUTS to educate women entrepreneurs on trading procedures and motivate them to participate in the global market.
According to the CUTS International, this initiative is a part of a project titled "Gender Dimensions of Trade Facilitation: Evidence from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal" supported by the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office under its Asia Regional Trade and Connectivity Programme.
CUTS International Executive Director BipulChatterjee said that one of the significant issues among various challenges in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal sub-region is asymmetric information resulting in barriers for women to do business including cross-border trade.
Stressing on the importance of 'access to information for trade', World Trade Organisation's Head of Trade and Gender AnoushderBoghossian participating in the talk said that better and right knowledge helps women to dispose off middlemen while doing business.
She stated that the WTO has gathered evidence on women entrepreneurs in East Africa, South Asia, and in Latin America.
She said that there is room for action that needs to be concrete and grounded with the needs of women entrepreneurs and traders.
"The WTO is coming up with a programme dedicated to women entrepreneurs in line with their needs to fill-in existing gaps in knowledge and training," Boghossian said.
"Governments can integrate a gender lens while crafting trade policies. For example, women engaged in the informal sector are not tech-savvy; therefore, the government needs to make policies inclusive of each aspect of doing business and trade," she underlined.
A study by the CUTS International found that despite low level of knowledge on trade rules, women were eager to participate in the export sector.
"Around 92 per cent of women-led enterprises were interested in taking trade-related training," the study said. Industry body FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) National President and Director of Assam based JTI Group JahnabiPhookan pointed out that the changing global economy provides women with new opportunities through services, global value chains and digital technologies.
She said that for women to benefit from these opportunities, they should have equal opportunities in policy-making through a gender lens.
Gender sensitivity for targeted interventions are vital. While presenting FLO's work, Phookan informed about a recently-concluded memorandum of understanding with the National Skills Development Corporations that provided free access to learning resources and digital skilling awareness drives through e-skills. (IANS)