No EU trade policy is gender-neutral. Today, European decision-makers widely acknowledge that fact and recognises that this needs to be addressed. Gender receives more and more attention in trade agreements but there is still work to be done. In this publication, CONCORD and WIDE+ call for and explain why a fundamental shift is needed towards a EU trade policy which should give as much importance to human rights and environmental standards as to economic indicators.


Considering that today:


  • Women in paid work earn from 10 to 30% less than men for the same job
  • 95% of women in South Asia and 89% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa are in informal employment
  • Women are still discriminated in access to land, credit, extension services, inheritance rights…
  • Women still undertake between 2 and 10 times as much unpaid care than men
  • Women are the first to pay the price of trade deals cutting trade tariffs and corporate taxes and increasing privatisation of public services


Of global garment workforce are women


of labour force in agriculture are women


Women in Sub-Saharan Africa who have informal employment

CONCORD and WIDE+ therefore recommend in this briefing note many measures that need to be taken to complement provisions referring to women’s rights in the agreements.


The EU should stop prioritising the interests of private companies and investors at the detriment of women’s rights and gender-just policies. The focus on GDP growth and trade expansion as moto of trade deals is also exacerbating these effects. The EU should radically shift the approach to trade by giving as much importance to human rights and environmental issues as to economic indicators.

Discover more facts and recommendations in the publication below.