Trade impact review: framework for gender assessments of trade and investment agreements

Trade impact review: framework for gender assessments of trade and investment agreements

A framework for assessing gendered impacts of trade and investment agreements

This report calls for a comprehensive assessment of the gender-differentiated impacts of new trade and investment agreements, to be undertaken prior to their negotiation and signing by the United States. It reviews some of the key findings in the economic, trade policy and legal literature on the potential and observed impacts of trade and investment agreements on women, their production and family responsibilities. The authors lay out a framework for this analysis and identify a number of indicators that should be monitored in order to assess the gender impacts of agreements with current and future trading partners of the United States. The paper concludes with policy recommendations that encompass modeling methodological considerations, data collection, and institutional and regulatory issues.

Some of the recommendations are:

  • Potentially different impacts on men and women of new international trade and investment commitments should be assessed before the US government enters into new negotiations on international trade and investment matters
  • a gender or other social impact assessment should adopt an economic modeling methodology and include legal/regulatory analysis. The assessment should draw on current models, and if necessary develop a modeling framework that incorporates appropriate gender and other social extensions
  • the legal/regulatory analysis should consider:
    • whether the text of a particular trade measure reflects any gender bias or could have a disparate effect on women or other social groups
    • whether the particular trade measure could conflict with or undermine the country’s other international commitments and domestic laws relevant to women or other social groups
  • a gender assessment involves analysis not only of differences in the experiences of women and men, but also of differences among women based on factors such as age, ethnicity, class, marital status and location
  • in cases where no gender-differentiated or other social impacts are anticipated, detailed documentation stating the reasoning behind this conclusion should be made available for public review and comments.
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