WTO Reform & Women's Empowerment


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Following a ministerial aimed at saving the World Trade Organization, held in Ottawa in late October, Bessma Momani takes this week’s episode to discuss the current failings of the WTO and the international trading system, and what can be done to modernize it. Our guests discuss the original purpose and value of the WTO and break down the top priorities that need fixing, most notably the dispute settlement mechanism within it. But are there other ways to give the WTO renewed purpose? How can women’s empowerment be supported through trade? For so long, there was an assumption trade does not discriminate — it is time, as this week's guests say, to create the data needed to understand trade impacts on women and why their inclusion benefits all. (For further reading, see reports mentioned within this week's episode: a recent OpenCanada piece looking at renewing the WTO, a 2017 CIGI report entitled Diversity Dividend, and a larger CIGI series, Reshaping Trade through Women’s Economic Empowerment.) Our host Bessma Momani is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and University of Waterloo and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a Fulbright Scholar. She has been non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a 2015 Fellow at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She’s a frequent analyst and expert on international affairs in Canadian and global media. This week's guests Patricia Goff is associate professor of the department of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont. She specializes in international political economy, international relations theory, and international organization, with a particular interest in trade, intellectual property, and the cultural capacity of international organizations. Maria Panezi is a research fellow with CIGI’s International Law Research Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, where she was a Nathanson Fellow and a Comparative Law and Political Economy Fellow. Erin Hannah is associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario. Her current research focuses on gender and trade and the role of expert knowledge in global governance. Canada and The World is produced and edited by Matthew Markudis.

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