BIRATNAGAR: A Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) focused on a draft policy advocacy position paper aimed at mainstreaming gender into trade and trade policy took place on September 22nd in Biratnagar, Koshi Province. This event marks the first of two planned PPDs in the Provinces. It follows up on the workshops held from August 14th to 16th in Lalitpur to explore policy reforms that promote greater participation of women in trade and economic activities.
This one-day PPD is a joint effort by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) and the EU-Nepal Trade and Investment Programme in collaboration with the Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal (FWEAN), and technical assistance from the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Initiative. Women entrepreneurs, government officials, and Women Business Associations (WBAs) from Koshi Province and Madhesh Province took part in the one-day PPD.
The position paper will consolidate the outcomes and recommendations generated from discussions among various stakeholders WBAs) in Biratnagar, Koshi Province, and Nepalgunj, Lumbini Province. The paper will serve as a valuable tool for policy advocacy, presenting recommendations to policymakers across various platforms to foster a conducive environment for women in exports, and advancing gender equality by providing women with greater access to businesses.
The primary objective of these PPDs is to update the SheTrades Outlook in Nepal, an assessment report prepared by the International Trade Centre (ITC). Furthermore, these events seek to raise awareness among relevant stakeholders regarding the importance of women’s increased involvement in trade policy formulation and economic activities. With technical support from the European Union-Nepal Trade and Investment Programme (TIP), a draft policy position paper was collaboratively developed by women entrepreneurs and WBAs, building upon the insights provided by the SheTrades Outlook presented during the validation workshops in August in Lalitpur.
The SheTrades Outlook will be revised to incorporate input from both PPDs, attended by key stakeholders representing women entrepreneurs, WBAs, and federal and provincial governments. Subsequently, extensive consultations will take place between WBA representatives and local women entrepreneurs regarding the draft policy position paper. This will be followed by interactions with relevant government officials responsible for shaping policies that promote women’s greater representation in decision-making processes.
Both PPDs are envisioned as platforms where women entrepreneurs and policymakers can engage in constructive dialogues regarding potential policy solutions and explore future strategies to further empower women through gender mainstreaming and policy reforms.
Delivering a statement through video conference, Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director of ITC said, “Increased participation of women in trade can’t be achieved without having a gender-responsive and inclusive trade policy. This consultation has offered a platform for women to vent their views to enrich gender-responsive policy paper which will serve necessary policy reform to promote women’s involvement in business.” Darshana Shrestha, first Vice President of FWEAN, said gender-responsive policies formulated with the involvement of women will be instrumental in promoting women’s participation in trade.