This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

WTO banner IOE&IT works with World Trade Organisation

Next week (27 to 30 September) the World Trade Organization (WTO) will open its doors for its first in-person Public Forum since the Covid-19 pandemic.

After two years of virtual and hybrid meetings, this year’s gathering focuses on the global recovery from the pandemic, with a particular focus on how the world can work together to create a recovery that’s sustainable and inclusive.

The Geneva-based body says boosting equality in international trade and addressing the need to increase the participation of women is a major part of building a more inclusive global economy.

Playing its part

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) is determined to play its part in helping to progress this agenda and is delighted to be one of only a handful of organisations to be taking part in the Public Forum

“From capacity building to networking to shaping the policy agenda, we’re committed to creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs around the world," says Marco Forgione, director general at IOE&IT.

“We’re proud to be leading a series of events during this year’s WTO Public Forum centered around promoting gender equality in international trade,” he added.

IOE&IT activities

The IOE&IT has partnered with the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades Initiative to sponsor four female entrepreneurs to attend the Forum and share their experiences as women in trade.

The four women - who run businesses based in Bangladesh, Rwanda, Mexico and Uruguay – will showcase their products and discuss how they have overcome the issues faced as female founders.

Forgione is also delivering the closing remarks on a high-level panel discussion titled ‘Breaking into male-dominated sectors’, featuring WTO director general Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and ITC executive director Pamela Coke-Hamilton.

‘Inclusive policies’ needed

Sangeeta Khorana, chair of the Academic Board at IOE&IT, will be hosting a panel discussion on ‘Engendering gender equality in international trade’.

She told the IOE&IT Daily Update:

“Gender disparity has been a challenge in international trade for many years, with female entrepreneurs finding it harder to access the same opportunities, skills and financial services.

“While awareness of trade and gender is increasing, with more inclusive policies and initiatives being discussed at national and international levels, more is needed to bring gender into the mainstream trade policy dialogue.

“Additionally, policymakers need a feedback mechanism for female entrepreneurs who are affected by gender disparity in trade to understand the impact of their policies and initiatives.”

IOE&IT director of strategic projects & international development Kevin Shakespeare will also be a respondent to a panel addressing Inclusive Finance Technology for WSME Resilience in Trade.

The panel is co-organised by the Organization of Women in International Trade, United Kingdom Chapter and 2X Collaborative.

Significant panel

Khorana’s panel has been bought together by the IOE&IT  in partnership with the Enterprise for Management, Economic Reform, and Gender Equality (EMERGE).

It brings together policymakers and business leaders to discuss the practical challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in international trade.

Panelists include:

  • Anoush der Boghossian - head of the trade and gender unit at the WTO
  • Dr Mona Shrestha – CEO at EMERGE
  • Perez Ochieng - CEO and founder of Sacoma Global
  • Simonetta Zarrilli - chief of the Trade, Gender and Development Programme at UNCTAD