Canada and the World, Ep. 19: WTO reform and women’s empowerment

A new podcast series from
and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

By: /
14 December, 2018

In October, Canada hosted a ministerial aimed at saving the World Trade Organization. This week’s episode examines the current failings of the WTO and the international trading system, and what can be done to modernize it. With host Bessma Momani, our guests discuss the original purpose and value of the WTO and break down the top priorities that need fixing, most notably its dispute settlement mechanism. 

But are there other ways to give the WTO renewed purpose? How can women’s empowerment be supported through trade? For so long, there was an assumption that trade does not discriminate — it is time, this week’s guests say, to create the data needed to understand trade impacts on women and why their inclusion benefits all. (For further reading, see reports mentioned in this week’s episode: a recent OpenCanada piece looking at renewing the WTO, a 2017 CIGI report entitled Diversity Dividend, and a larger CIGI series, Reshaping Trade through Women’s Economic Empowerment.)

Our host

Bessma Momani is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and University of Waterloo and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She’s also a non-resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a Fulbright Scholar. She has been non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a 2015 Fellow at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She’s a frequent analyst and expert on international affairs in Canadian and global media. 

This week’s guests

Patricia Goff is associate professor of the department of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont. She specializes in international political economy, international relations theory, and international organization, with a particular interest in trade, intellectual property, and the cultural capacity of international organizations. 

Maria Panezi is a research fellow with CIGI’s International Law Research Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, where she was a Nathanson Fellow and a Comparative Law and Political Economy Fellow.

Erin Hannah is associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario. Her current research focuses on gender and trade and the role of expert knowledge in global governance.

Canada and The World is produced and edited by Matthew Markudis. Each episode can be found on iTunes and other podcast applications. 

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter