Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 16:30-18:30

The policies and practices of multinational enterprises (MNEs) affect gender equality in the workplace in host countries of foreign affiliates. Depending on MNE home country norms and values and those of its customer and stakeholder bases, outcomes in developing countries can be positive, although this is not automatic. This high-level panel will examine the various mechanisms through which MNEs transfer gender policies and practices to local firms, and the impact on gender outcomes, notably female employment and the gender wage gap with the aim to individuate the best policy measures and initiatives that can ensure foreign investment translates into real benefits for women.

The discussion will build on recent research and policy analysis on the topic including UNCTAD’s Report on Multinational Enterprises and the International Transmission of Gender Policies and Practices.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Do the benefits associated with foreign direct investment (FDI) also translate into more gender-equal labour market outcomes?
  • Which polices can enable gender equality in FDI host countries?
  • What is the role of domestic labor market legislation in promoting women participation in the economy?
  • How can responsible investment principles, corporate social responsibility standards influence MNE practices?
  • Does the inclusion of gender equality in international trade and investment agreements help to prevent lowering relevant labour market standards for the purpose of promoting investment?
  • How can the adoption of reporting standards help drive a change in corporate gender policies and practices?


  • Ms. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General, UNCTAD

Keynote address:

  • H.E. Mr. Andrés Valenciano, Minister of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica

Lead Panellist:

  • Prof. Ann Harrison, Dean of the Haas School of Business and Professor at Berkeley University


  • Ms. Marie-France Paquet, Chief Economist, Global Affairs Canada
  • Ms. Reema Nanavaty, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
  • Ms. Kristin Hull, CEO, NIA impact investing
  • Ms. Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor, New York University, Abu Dhabi
  • Ms. Åsa Regnér, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women
  • Ms. Henriette Kolb, Head, Gender and Economic Inclusion Group, International Finance Corporation, The World Bank Groupe
  • Mr. Vic van Vuuren, Director, Enterprise Branch ILO
  • Ms. Ana Güezmes, Chief of the Gender Affairs Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
  • Dr. Amelia U. Santos-Paulino, Chief of Investment Issues Section, Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD


  • Prof. Lorraine Eden, Professor Emerita of Management in the Mays Business School of Texas A&M

Event Manager: Ms. Amelia U. Santos-Paulino and Ms. Claudia Trentini
Contact email: Amelia.Santos-Paulino@unctad.org, Claudia.Trentini@unctad.org