Mukhisa Kituyi: some Kenya’s trade policies are undermining women empowerment

Mukhisa Kituyi: some Kenya’s trade policies are undermining women empowerment
  • Trade liberalization negatively affects women given that it targets particular sectors which have few or no women
  •  UNCTAD research reveals that gender norms continue to segregate women into specific jobs and economic sectors
  • The segregation of women often denying them access to the education and training needed to upgrade their skills

Some trade policies in Kenya are undermining the empowerment of women, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi has said.

A recent research by UNCTAD has shown that trade liberalization affects men and women differently and that women more than men stand, to win or lose depending on which economic sectors are targeted.

The data shows that gender norms continue to segregate women into specific jobs and economic sectors, often denying them access to the education and training needed to upgrade their skills.

“When it comes to women’s empowerment, it matters which products are promoted for export, and which are left on their own to face stronger competition from abroad,” Dr. Kituyi said.

READ ALSO: Dr Kituyi rebukes government for gender inequality as state continues to suppress fair trade policies

“Because women tend to work in fewer sectors than men, they may be disproportionately affected when a policy makes sectors like small-scale farming, or the clothing or hospitality industries, less competitive,” he added.

 

It has since emerged that agro-industries may bring new and better job opportunities, with higher wages and better working conditions than traditional farming. However, the research reveals that women workers in agro-processing are typically segregated into labor-intensive tasks like the packaging which has limited opportunities for skills development.

“The only way to avoid these unintended negative gender ramifications is to assess a policy’s potential effects beforehand,” Dr. Kituyi said.

 

 

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