Gender and Services
1. The Session was chaired by Dr. Biplove Choudhary. Dr. Mariama Williams presented the challenges and constraints faced in the services negotiations in WTO from a gender perspective. These are access, affordability and availability of public services, such as health care and education and natural resources such as water and energy. The services issue stretch upon social mandate of government, core infrastructure, domestic regulations, market entry requirements, request offer of trading partners and remittances. Dr. Williams dwelt on the fact that the share of services in many developing countries and in the developed country is over 50%. Mode 1 (cross border delivery of services) and Mode 4 (movement of natural persons) are two modes of services delivery which are the main vehicles for the participation of women in developing countries for export of services. In general, gender related issues are emerging across the four modes of supply and relate to access, employment, budgetary impacts and other issues. Dr. Williams cautioned that in the agreement on trade in services there should be a carve out and protection of essential public services especially in the areas of environmental services (water, sanitation), energy, tourism and professional services. She also noted the need to build in safeguards in areas such as tourism where women are pushed into sex tourism with consequent risks to HIV-AIDS. Similarly, migration of unskilled workers in low paid and unprotected jobs to developing and developed countries is also an area of concern.