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Building Back Fairer and Greener

The world has a golden opportunity to build back boldly after the pandemic and put gender equality, social responsibility, and environmental protection at the heart of the recovery. With a deliberate and strategic focus on these issues, the future we sow could be more bountiful than the past.

GENEVA – Like farmers planning the following season’s crop, we must now sow the seeds of the post-pandemic future we want. That means putting gender equality and sustainability at the heart of the recovery and promoting more inclusive development through “good trade.”

The most serious challenge we face is economic inequality – not only between and within countries. In particular, COVID-19 has revealed the depth of gender inequities, with women suffering the most from the pandemic’s economic fallout. Research by the International Trade Centre shows that nearly 65% of women-led small businesses across 120 countries have been strongly affected by the crisis (compared to just over half of firms led by men). Sectors that employ mostly women – including retail, hospitality, tourism, and artisanal and light manufacturing – were hit the hardest.

Moreover, accelerated digitalization and shifting supply-chain configurations mean that female entrepreneurs everywhere – but especially in developing countries – face additional obstacles, ranging from accessing information and resources to building skills and networks.

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