- TradeMark Africa Champions Transformative Action Against Gender-Based Violence in Trade during 16 Days of Activism
A recent study by TradeMark Africa (TMA) reveals a startling statistic: 40% of women traders at East African border crossings have experienced harassment in the past year, – including sexual and verbal abuse – highlighting the pressing issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in trade. The study also underscores the correlation between unpaid care work,GBV and its implications for women’s participation in cross-border trade underpinning the critical need for sustainable solutions through partnerships.
This alarming reality underscores the urgent need for action and was a focal point during a high-level stakeholder dialogue convened by TMA, following the ‘UNiTE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls’ campaign. The campaign advocates increased financial backing for preventive strategies and transforming societal norms to end violence against women and girls.
The dialogue brought together policy makers, private sector entities, civil society representatives, development partners, and women in business. The stakeholders articulated commitments and called upon governments to move swiftly in adopting GBV-specific legislation, trans-regional collaboration, establishment of secure centres, data management at borders, and the integration of private sector and community empowerment in efforts to combat GBV.
“While trade holds the promise of prosperity, inclusivity, and sustainability in Africa, the shadows of gender-based violence persists, impeding the empowerment of women in trade,” said Principal Secretary, State Department for Gender and Affirmative Action Ms Anne Wangombe. “This dialogue stands not just as an advocacy platform but as a clarion call for substantial investment and radical policy reform to fortify a conducing trading environment for women across the African continent.”
Making her remarks, Ms Anataria Uwamariya, TMA’s Director Business Competitiveness said, “Empowering women in trade necessitates more than rhetoric; it demands concrete, collaborative endeavours to dismantle the shadows of gender-based violence hindering progress. Our commitment to gender equality and inclusive development remains unwavering, evident in our strategic blueprint and initiatives aimed at creating a violence-free trading environment.“
TMA’s 2023 to 2030 strategy, “Building Sustainable and Inclusive Trade for Africa,” underscores the pressing need for comprehensive solutions addressing the nexus between women’s trade engagements and their vulnerability to intimate partner violence. TMA’s collaborative efforts concentrate on crucial domains, aiming to empower women traders and foster and environment that safeguards their rights.
The “Making Trade Work for Women” program, funded by Global Affairs Canada and a part of TMA’s initiatives, has demonstrated significant impact, benefitting over 170,000 women across Eastern,Southern, and the Horn of Africa.The success of this program is a testament to the positive outcomes achievable through concerted efforts. “Through community and collaborative initiatives, we’ve witnessed tangible impacts, reporting and resolving cases, providing safe spaces, and empowering communities,” concluded Ms. Uwamariya.
The call to action from this dialogue is clear:Empowering women in trade is not optional but a strategic necessity for sustainable trade in Africa.The commitment to this cause transcends borders, promising transformative action against GBV, thereby fostering a safer and more prosperous continent for all.