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Civil society and the politics of global trade. Integrating democratic and gender concerns

Final Activity Report Summary - CIVIL SOCIETY AND TRADE (Civil Society and the Politics of Global Trade: Integrating Democratic and Gender Concerns)

The main goal of this project was to identify in which ways and to what extent the lack of participative and transparent practices in contemporary trade governance contributes to the reproduction of gendered hierarchies in the global political economy.

Accordingly, the project analysed, using a comparative perspective, mechanisms of governance that escaped from wider public scrutiny in two different contexts of north and south regionalisation, namely the North American free trade agreement and the economic partnership, political co-ordination and cooperation agreement that was signed between the European Union and Mexico. In order to find possible answers, this project analysed key proposals from civil society organisations working in Mexico which sought to bring gender concerns into trade governance agendas and multilateral negotiations.

One of the most important findings was that women and feminist groups in Mexico, as well as in other Latin American countries, brought forward gender concerns into trade politics while democratising them. In other words, gender-informed trade policy was pushing forward through women collective engagement and participation. This parallel agenda was pointed out over and over by women activists working in contexts like Mexico, i.e. characterised by high levels of impunity, gender inequality, violence and deficient democratic systems and institutions. On the basis of these observations, this research initiated a critical examination on the extent to which women transnational interventions in Mexico and Latin America opened the possibility for the re-politicisation of trade governance.