India shares a land border of over 15000 km with seven countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, and the land ports operate as key gateways for trade with neighbouring countries. However, the impediments faced by women at the land borders are a major reason for the low level of female participation in regional trade. Gender mainstreaming is important as policy actions tend to be ‘gender neutral’ or ‘gender blind’ and overlook the differences in the impact on men and women. This study is one of the first attempts in India to develop a comprehensive template for a gender lens assessment of hard and soft infrastructure at land ports, as a crucial input into incorporating a gender mainstreaming strategy in trade facilitation measures at the land ports.
The study provides an evidence-based, gender-lens analysis of both hard and soft infrastructure gaps and safety related challenges that combine with existing socio-cultural barriers to constrain women and perpetuate a challenging environment for them at the land ports in India. In tandem, the report recommends targeted gender mainstreaming actions to make the land port environment and operations gender responsive. While prepared with the particular objective of making India’s land ports gender friendly, the report can also serve as a useful reference guide for other agencies involved in trade facilitation in adopting a gender mainstreaming approach, both within India as well as in other developing countries.
To facilitate the participation of women in international trade by making the land port environment and operations more gender responsive and friendly, the study presents an Action Plan for Gender Mainstreaming at India’s Land Ports. With focus on seven key areas – information, infrastructure, digitisation, facilitation, staffing, outreach, and capacity building – the action plan lists the enabling measures needed both at the land ports as well as the overall ecosystem to increase women’s participation in international trade.