portrait of female farm worker with digital tablet while observing plant disease

Why the international trade gender gap needs to close faster

In this episode of the Tax and Law in Focus podcast, we explore the scale of gender problem and some of the leading practices being deployed to help make a breakthrough.

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Podcast host Susannah Streeter welcomes Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, Sally Jones, EY Trade Strategy and Brexit Leader, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.

With women-led businesses comprising only 15% of global trade, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take over a century to achieve gender parity without faster policy reform.

This episode uncovers the challenges faced by women in the entrepreneurial world, including limited access to finance and the struggle to gain deserved recognition. The conversation highlights the advantageous position men hold in securing positions within companies integrated into global value chains.

However, hope lies in focusing on gender issues and adopting leading practices to empower women-owned enterprises. The potential benefits of greater gender parity in trade are immense, such as the UK's projected $307 billion boost if women start businesses at the same rate as men.

Throughout the episode, the panel discusses the importance of female representation in key leadership roles, the impact of recruitment practices, and the role of financing. They also examine success stories, the influence of e-commerce platforms, and the need for gender-responsive policies in trade agreements.

Discover the strategies and insights shared by these experts, equipping companies and society as a whole to take proactive steps toward closing the gender gap in international trade.

Key takeaways:

  • Emphasize education: Equal educational opportunities for girls worldwide are crucial. A complete 12-year education empowers future generations of women to make a significant impact globally.
  • Support women through investment: Active support for female-led businesses is essential. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates the potential and success of women when given equal opportunities for investment.
  • Address legal barriers: Tackling legal obstacles and property rights restrictions is vital. Implementing proactive laws and policies that promote women's financial inclusion and ownership rights will help narrow the gender trade gap.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available. 


Susannah Streeter
International broadcaster and financial analyst


Episode 13


47m 13s