News on Pakistan’s trade performance is rarely found side by side, or even associated with, headlines on gender equality. Yet both are burning issues for Pakistani society. This article aims at highlighting their connections. Put differently, it shows how the world market is tied to Pakistani stoves. Trade is important for Pakistan’s economy due to the country’s comparative openness. The country—like most parts of the subcontinent—is a late globalizer, as compared to, for example, East Asia or Latin America. Structural adjustment programs implemented since 1988 under the aegis of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been one catalyst for trade liberalization. Trade tariffs were reduced significantly, resulting in rising trade to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios. Today, the value of exports from Pakistan surpasses 21 billion U.S. dollars. Besides textile manufactures such as cotton cloth, bed wear, and knitwear, key exports include rice as well as leather manufactures, indicating the special role of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors for Pakistan’s trade. The main export destinations include the northern markets of the United States and European countries—such as the United Kingdom and Germany—as well as the Gulf states and Hong Kong (China). Trade is more than an aggregate statistic on flows of goods and services. It means employment in export garment manufacturing for some, and job losses caused by cheaper Chinese imports for others. It may provide some consumers with access to affordable generic medicines that were previously unavailable, supply others with cheaper prices due to intensified competition, and present a third group with less choice as cheap imports gain a monopoly in the market.

Additional Metadata
Publisher Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
ISBN 978-1-933549-33-0
Persistent URL
Series ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development
Note Accepted Manuscript
Siegmann, K.A. (2009). The Trade and Gender Interface: A Perspective from Pakistan. In ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development. Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Retrieved from