WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.


Is Trade Liberalization a Window of Opportunity for Women?

This paper analyses how trade affects women's job opportunities and earnings through five case studies: Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. It is found that women's share of the labour force has increased over time and the wage gap between men and women has narrowed. It is also found that there is a positive and statistically significant relation between exports and women's share of employment while there is a statistically significant and negative correlation between women's share in employment and imports. The correlation between women's share of employment and trade stems from variation between sectors rather than within sectors over time, indicating that export-competing industries tend to employ women while import-competing industries tend to employ men. Trade liberalization is likely to create jobs for women and over time increase their relative wages.


Keywords: trade liberalization, Gender
JEL: F16: International Economics / Trade / Trade and Labor Market Interactions; F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade
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