Today opens the Conference on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Canada, the themes are also very much linked to UN Women’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2013, which addresses (i) women’s legal status and rights; (ii) women’s economic opportunities; and (iii) women’s voice, inclusion, participation and leadership. “Gender equality cannot continue to be an after-thought in trade policies and negotiations. There must be concrete measures in trade agreements, policies, and strategies and programmes to address the constraints women face in empowering themselves economically“, states Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women in her opening speech today. From October 3 to 5, 2011, the Canadian International Development Agency and UN Women are hosting a joint conference to address these challenges in practical ways. The conference brings together leading practitioners, development thinkers, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, and representatives of the private and public sectors.