A Feminist Lens on Migration & Trade

On 9 April, 2021, Women in Migration Network and the Gender and Trade Coalition hosted an international webinar on global migration and trade — with a feminist lens! Thanks to all who participated in this dynamic session.

A video of the webinar can be viewed here.

An overview PDF by Liepollo Pheko can be downloaded here.

A description of the webinar and presenters can be seen below.

Global migration and global trade policies may seem very far from the experiences of migrant women around the globe, yet they directly impact migrant women’s lives. In the era of globalised economies, nations and corporations depend on a mobile labour force to meet labour demands while migration policies increasingly pose barriers to mobility that criminalize migrants. 

States have pushed for free trade of goods, services and capital while excluding dignified mobility for women and their families. Extractive industries and austerity programs push women from their home, while centres of low-wage industry as well as low wage service and agricultural jobs pull women to other countries, often working in hyper-exploitative situations.  Given the role women are often assigned as care givers (both paid and unpaid) in the global economy, migration and migrant women’s work is gendered and racialized.  

At this critical juncture in the COVID pandemic we explore how the pandemic, which made visible deep structural inequalities, offer a the opportunity for a bottom-up, women-centric approach to international trade and labour architecture. 


Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, Moderator, is Senior Research Fellow and political economist with the Trade Collective Think Tank and is currently a Lancet Commissioner on Reparations and Redistributive Justice. She represents the Women in Migration Network in the Gender and Trade Coalition Steering Committee and is a member of the Well Being Economy Alliance. Over the past 12 months she contributed extensively to framing intersectional policy alternatives that centre women in post-COVID economic recovery through various platforms.
Fatimah Kelleher is a Pan African feminist technical adviser/strategist engaged in feminist advocacy, research and advice. Fatimah has worked primarily on African transformational trajectories, with a focus on challenging economic and other development orthodoxies in particular. She is currently associated to Action Aid GB and is also a member of the NAWI collective.
Crecentia Mofokeng is a trade unionist working for the Building and Wood Workers International – BWI, as the Regional Representative for Africa and Middle East Region since 2001. She joined the trade union movement in 1980 and has represented BWI in various International & Regional conferences including ITUC – Africa, ILO, Global Forum on Migration and Development, UN Climate Change Conference, and the BRICS Trade Union Forum. Crecentia is responsible for developing several labour sectors including migration, decent work and women’s development.
Mariama Williams, Ph.D. was the Coordinator of the Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Gender Programme at the South Centre. She is a member of the Caribbean Feminist Action Network (CFAN), and a Director with the Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), Jamaica. Mariama was also a founder of the International Gender and Trade Network and is a steering committee member of DAWN. She is a feminist economist with over 20 years’ experience working on economic development, macroeconomic, trade external debt and finance issues, with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment, social equity, sustainable finance and development and climate change issues.