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The Commonwealth Joint Office in New York during the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women

We are delighted that LCCI’s recent policy proposal on the inclusion of women in trade deals has received strong support in a meeting convened by the Commonwealth Businesswomen's Network C.I.C (CBWN) and Bloomsbury Institute London with three private sector partners – LCCI, GSMA and the World Commerce & Contracting - at the Commonwealth Joint Office in New York during the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The side event held last week focussed on Economic Empowerment: the link between Digital Skills, Gender Responsive Procurement and Contracting and Women in Free Trade Agreements. Participants included policy-makers from across the Commonwealth, the private sector, women entrepreneurs and multilateral agencies.

The meeting recognised the multiple barriers for women-owned businesses including limited access to finance, hurdles in tendering processes, and costly policy compliance. It also noted that efforts to involve more women in trade are crucial for economic growth and one of the quickest ways to lift more women out of poverty. However, Free Trade Agreements often overlook women's input, resulting in policies that hinder their economic participation.

LCCI's proposal addresses women's underrepresentation in trade, emphasizing their unique perspective and role and it was seen as innovative and impactful by those at the meeting. As the UK pursues post-Brexit agreements, seizing this opportunity to include women in negotiations is vital for equitable trade policies and sustainable economic development.

Download a copy of LCCI's inclusion of women in trade deals paper.