Thursday, July 7, 2022

Women miss out in export sector – report

A new report says the role of women in the export sector is not as advanced as in the New Zealand economy generally.  

This affects the farming business, since 81.8% of New Zealand trade involves goods from the farm-dominated primary sector.   

The report, entitled Trade and Gender Review of New Zealand, was done by the OECD and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Afairs and Trade (MFAT).

It finds women are under-represented in the trade sector workforce.  

While their participation has grown faster than that of their male counterparts, the growth rate is still lower than it is in other industries.  

And women still comprise just 40% of the export-related workforce, compared with 47% of the New Zealand-wide workforce across all sectors.    

Matching their experience as workers, women entrepreneurs and business leaders are also less engaged in trade than their male counterparts.    

But there is a complication here: women-led firms have a marginally higher export propensity than male-owned firms of similar size. 

That means that while women are less likely to lead a firm than men, they do more exporting than men on those occasions when they get the chance to lead a business.  

“While women are less likely to lead a firm than men, they do more exporting than men on those occasions when they get the chance to lead a business.”

The report lists another advantage for women.  

It says one of the main gains from trade is lower prices and this can help woman as consumers.  

This is especially useful for lower income families, which spend a lot of their money on daily consumption, and have little left over for saving or investing, unlike richer families.  

The advantage is especially true for single-parent households with dependent children, which are overwhelmingly run by women.  

The report says New Zealand is ranked fourth globally out of 180 countries in terms of gender equality by the World Economic Forum.

But this could be improved by making make trade agreements more gender sensitive, whether those agreements are bilateral or pluralateral.

Female success in the trade sector could also be helped by making trade more transparent and straightforward, so that SMEs run by women are not deterred by the volume and complexity of work needed to enter the export space.  

Women should also be better represented in trade policy making roles, along with getting better access to Government procurement.  

The report has been welcomed by the Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor, who said that progress had been made but there was still more work to do.  

He said the Government itself requested the review to help facilitate progress.

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