CUTS International’s Session at WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event 2021


Women’s participation in trade and trade-related activities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) is an issue that needs special attention in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as micro, small and medium enterprises are bearing the brunt of the crises. Similarly, the closure of international borders, shutting down production units, travel restrictions and sluggish demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak has impacted women and women entrepreneurs engaged in cross-border formal and informal land trade.

The pandemic has also resulted in the closure of ‘Border Haats’ that are functional along the international border between India and Bangladesh; thereby cutting off an easier source of consumer goods to marginalised communities, particularly women.

Whether by design or chance, the exclusion of women is not just an issue of women’s rights but also outlines unaffordable economic losses for the countries that make up this vast and populous region.

Drawing insights from the on-going projects ‘Gender Dimensions of Trade Facilitation in BBIN and India Bangladesh Border Haats, supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, CUTS is hosting a webinar as part of WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event from 23-25 March, 2021.

The session being organised virtually on Zoom platform will have panellists from the WTO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal who will deliberate on the impact of Covid-19 on women traders in both the formal and informal sector and possible measures to build their resilience under similar situations of economic shocks.


Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International

Panel Speakers

Anoush der Boghossian, Head of Trade and Gender, World Trade Organization

Selima Ahmad, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh and President, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Kunzang Lhamu, Director General, Department of Employment and Human Resources, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan

Kamala Gurung, Gender and Natural Resource Management Specialist, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal

Duncan Overfield, Deputy Development Director, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom

Mandakini Kaul, Senior Regional Cooperation Officer for South Asia, The World Bank   

Cyn-Young Park, Director, Regional Cooperation and Integration Division, Economics Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank

Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International
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