Eliminating inequality between men and women in employment
As of 2017, gender equality is the fifth of seventeen sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Several tools, including social clauses in trade agreements, may help achieve this goal. Elimination of gender-based discrimination in employment and equality in pay for women and men, are considered as the « guiding principles that parties are committed to promote ». Therefore, gender issues are increasingly being incorporated into the texts of trade agreements, often within the framework of labour cooperation.
Gender pay gap
Studies show that although the labour force participation rates are likely to increase with globalization for both men and women, the wage gap between them remains strong. Companies in a globalized economy want to diminish costs and limit their expenses by paying lower salaries to women than to men for doing the same work.
Ways to promote equality between women and men
- Promoting gender equality in parallel agreements and / or in labour chapters. Incorporating gender equality principles into these mechanisms will foster greater involvement of civil society in the adoption and implementation of such agreements, particularly unions. In addition to the existing rights, a clause specifically mentioning the parties’ commitment to gender equality could be added to the text of the agreements. Non-compliance with the commitments could be submitted to dispute settlement mechanisms.
- Increasing the scope of assessment mechanisms as well as monitoring and technical assistance programmes to reduce inequalities between men and women in the workplace. Some agreements integrate gender considerations into their capacity-building mechanisms: Canada identifies «gender-related» issues as areas for cooperation. For its part, the cooperation and capacity-building mechanism of the US Department of State and the Palestinian Authority sets out gender equality, including the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, as a priority for cooperation and capacity-building.