CPA Parliamentary Academy
7th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference

CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting

About the Workshop

CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting

Women’s economic empowerment is essential to achieving women’s rights and gender equality. Importantly, the economic empowerment of women and closing gender gaps in the work are vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Whilst this is a recognised priority, research conducted by the World Bank reveals that out of 189 countries, 104 still have laws and policies in place that preclude women from working in certain jobs. It is estimated that this gender gap can cost a country’s economy approximately 15 percent of their GDP. Women’s economic empowerment is also crucial to keeping women out of poverty. However, many women are significantly underpaid in comparison to men with the global gender wage gap estimated to be around 23 per cent meaning that women earn 77 per cent of what men earn globally. The CWP, recognising the urgent need to address some of the obstacles to achieving the financial empowerment of women as a priority, has made this issue one of its thematic priorities for the last three years.

This workshop looked at effective approaches that Parliaments can take to ensure and promote gender-inclusive economic empowerment to end many of the challenges women face across the Commonwealth. The session also looked to highlight ways in which Parliaments can help remove harmful discriminatory norms, rules and policies that deny women access to the financial services that keep them economically empowered.

The Workshop comprised of a panel discussion and concluded with a Q&A session.


CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting
Ms Claire Baker MSP, The Scottish Parliament

Born and brought up in the  ex-mining village of Kelty, Fife, Claire Baker was first elected to the Scottish Parliament representing the Mid-Scotland and Fife region in 2007.  She is Scottish Labour spokesperson for Drugs Policy, having previous held shadow cabinet posts in Justice; Culture and External Affairs; and Environment and Rural Affairs.

Claire is Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee and a Member of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.  Before being elected, Claire worked in the voluntary sector and trade union movement. A graduate of Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, she is a published author on the American poet Sylvia Plath.

Ms Anoush der Boghossian, Head of Trade and Gender at the World Trade Organization

Ms. Anoush der Boghossian is the Head of the WTO Trade and Gender Unit and the WTO Gender Policy Adviser. She was appointed as the WTO's first trade and gender expert by former Director-General Roberto Azevêdo in 2017. She is the WTO expert on trade and gender and on gender equality issues more broadly.

She is one of the Co-Authors of the WTO/World Bank report on "Women and Trade". She is the lead author of gender chapter (4) in the Aid for Trade Global Review 2022 publication. She also led the gender segment of the Aid for Trade Monitoring and Evaluation Exercise 2021-2022.

Anoush is also the Founder and Chair of the WTO Gender Research Hub, a research network that fosters research and experts' partnerships on gender equality in trade. Through the Hub, she also intends to promote research findings on trade and gender equality thus supporting governments in adopting informed policies and to establish the topic of as a recognised field of research and expertise.

She is a recognised trainer and researcher on gender responsive trade policy and aid for trade programmes, and for instance she organised a session at the Seventh Biennial Global Conference of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) in 2021 and presented research on "Mainstreaming Gender in Trade and Investment Agreements: Best Practice Examples & the Missing Elements".

Anoush is a senior staff member of the WTO with 16 years' experience in the Organization. Prior her current responsibilities, Anoush worked as the French Language Spokesperson of the WTO, as the press officer to the former Director-General Pascal Lamy and to the former Deputy Director-General Valentine Rugwabiza, focusing on media operations in Africa amomg others. She also served as the NGO Liaison Officer of the WTO. Within these positions, she started to develop her knowledge on the links between trade gender and development, especially doing a lot of work with African media.

Anoush began her career at the WTO in 2006 after acquiring 10 years of professional experience in the private sector, in Brussels, working on EU policies, as a public relations specialist.

Among her educational achievements, she holds a Masters in European and International Law (with specialised expertise in EU Competition Law), and a Masters in Communications.

Among her personal achievements, Anoush is a Member of the "Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin", Chateau Clos de Vougeot (Burgundy, France) and she is an experienced diver.

Hon. Dr Smt. Nimaben Bhaveshbhai Acharya, Speaker of Gujarat Legislative Assembly

Workshop Resources

CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting

Workshop Summary

CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting

This session explored the importance of Parliament’s use of a gender-based lens in the development of budgets, policies and legislation to ensure and promote equality and the gender-inclusive economic empowerment of women across the Commonwealth.

Particular focus was placed on recognising that the challenges and barriers that women face in terms of financial literacy and access to support varies from region to region. Some of the potential tools that Parliaments and Parliamentarians have to address these shortfalls such as Gender Equality Indices, audits, policies and Committee work were addressed.

The collection of data and statistics was also discussed as an important tool to understand the disparities women face in terms of wage and employment inequity, access to government support, procurement and even trust in government.

The discussion included barriers women face in areas where gender neutrality may be mistakenly assumed. For example, the rules found in trade agreements are not written in gender specific language. However, the social and legal environments in some regions may limit a woman’s right to own property, access capital, education, health care and travel. These limitations highlight the importance of applying these rules through a gender-based lens.

These limitations negatively impact access to traditional financial services which in turn impacts access to trade. Therefore, Parliaments must establish laws that overcome these obstacles.

Workshop Recommendation

CWP Workshop C: Financial Empowerment of Women and Gender-Sensitive Budgeting

As part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference outcomes, each workshop put forward a recommendation. The following recommendation was approved:

“Commonwealth Parliaments must ensure that all budgets incorporate a gender lens and all policies and agreements are gender sensitive.”

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