In continued efforts to broaden the competitive participation of women in international trade, Mekong Institute (MI) and the Trade Facilitation Office Canada held a multi-stakeholder consultation workshop to introduce the merits of the Women in Trade (WIT) Knowledge Platform project on April 29, 2021 via digital channel.
"By widening access to trade information, equal access to business and employment opportunities will be made available to help bridge the gender gap in Asia,” Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation, said during the opening session before detailing the project’s research methodology to shore better understanding of the purpose and function of the WIT Knowledge Platform.
Designed as a three-year project that is funded by the International Development Research Centre, the knowledge platform will make available gender-disaggregated sector-specific trade and employment data to help women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises from developing countries tap international trade opportunities, particularly in the Canadian market.
Mr. Dutta, who facilitated the workshop discussion, fielded various perspectives as 34 representatives from government agencies, chambers of commerce, business associations, export promotion agencies, and research institutions in Cambodia and Vietnam highlighted priority information and initiatives required to expand women’s access to skills, education, and resources for stronger policy systems and equitable trade representation.
This was followed by a session with Ms. Hao Wen, MI Program Coordinator, who presented survey questions for the participants’ feedback and validation. She then detailed the project’s partnership mechanism to ensure continued collaboration and exchange of inputs among stakeholders.
The research findings will be presented in a series of consultation and dissemination activities with officials from government, trade, research, and policy institutions, as well as the private sector, across pilot project countries in Africa and Asia, as well as Canada. The final data will then be inputted into the WIT Knowledge Platform to promote research studies, policies, and best practices that will support women equality in global trade.