Governments must help bridge gender gap in global economic sphere, Expo 2020 Dubai panel says

DUBAI, 21 January 2022 – Education, inclusive trade agreements, greater representation and gender equality are key factors that will bolster women’s empowerment in trade, according to officials from Canada, Chile and Mexico who discussed their governments’ initiatives in promoting gender equality at a panel discussion today (21 January).

‘The Outlier Series: Advancing Women’s Participation in International Trade’ was held in the context of Global Goals Week at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion.

Marcy Grossman, Canada’s Ambassador to the UAE, stressed that bringing women to the table as equal decision-makers, amplifying their voices and creating a framework for them to thrive, is key to female empowerment. Canada has implemented gender provisions in its international trade agreements, and locally, it is seeding female-led businesses and preparing women to step into the international trade arena.

Grossman said: “The Canadian government is committed to a comprehensive feminist foreign policy that puts a gender lens across anything we do internationally, whether it’s security, trade, diplomacy or international assistance. By advancing women’s equality in Canada, we could add USD 150 billion to our GDP by 2026.”

Education is the way forward to drive women’s participation on the global business stage. The first step is ensuring that girls study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects, as this is thought to be a key growth area for future economies.

Chile’s Ambassador to the UAE, Jorge Daccaret, said: “Chile has public policies that foster the greater participation of girls in STEM fields, are actively supporting women in areas of digital knowledge, and have launched digital platforms to empower women. We are also funding female-led projects in rural areas, and focus on capacity-building for women in the areas of finance and marketing.”

Bernardo Noval, Deputy Commissioner General of the Mexico Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, agreed that building a framework with non-discriminatory public policies is essential for greater representation of women across every sphere of public and private sector. “It is imperative that we foster alliances and build spaces to find common goals that advance women’s economic empowerment,” he said.