Gender Implications Of Nepal’S Wto Membership
Despite significant achievements in the socio-economic front in past decades under planned development efforts, women’s status is still far behind of men. In fact, the development that took place in the country, which largely failed to address the problem of gender inequality, resulted in low women’s participation in the development process, representation in decision-making, and ownership in productive resources. Nepal acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004. As an instrument of trade liberalization it can significantly affect the lives of people, including women. Economists working on gender and trade investigating the complex relationship between gender inequalities and trade liberalization find that trade liberalization has had mixed results for gender outcomes. Socio-economic conditions, institutional arrangements, access over productive resources and many other factors largely determine whether and to what extent a country or a particular group of people benefits from trade. Therefore, Nepal’s entry into the WTO may also produce mixed results for gender outcome, especially in existence of widespread gender discriminations in economic life. In a situation of large socio-economic differences between men and women, Nepal needs active policy interventions to expand human choices and to contribute to increasing income and gender inequalities, especially after WTO membership. Therefore, it is imperative to implement active policy interventions rather than passively wait for the markets to deliver automatic benefits if the opportunities of WTO membership are to be translated into tangible, widespread, long lasting and equitable benefits for Nepalese women.
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