The Gender and Trade Coalition (GTC) convened an engaging roundtable titled “Envisioning Feminist Alternative Trade Systems” on 7 July 2023 at the 31st International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) Annual Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
The feminist alternatives proposed by panelists aimed to promote international trade and exchange based on solidarity and complementarity. In this way, they struck a balance between respect for national sovereignty, domestic policy space, and state obligations under multilateral human rights norms. Panelists included GTC members Third World Network-Africa (Pauline Vande-Pallen) on mineral-based development, Regions Refocus (Senani Dehigolla) on post-conflict recovery, Diyana Yahaya on corporate accountability, Third World Network (Ranja Sengupta) on agrarian reform, and Integrated Policy Research Institute (Mariama Williams) on climate change. The session was moderated by Women in Migration Network (Liepollo Lebohang Pheko).
Roundtable panelists highlighted critical intersections of trade and gender with concrete evidence of these connections. Key points include the impact of trade and investment agreements on domestic policies and women’s human rights, and the need to explore strategies which challenge the current trade system, including through international regulations or treaties and alternative trade agreement models. Each panelist emphasized the GTC’s feminist analysis and advocacy, voicing the profound value they derive from being a GTC member as a space for radical imagination and action.
The roundtable received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the live and virtual audiences, with viewers tuning in virtually from across the world.