Gender-responsive procurement

Gender-responsive procurement is the selection of goods, civil works or services that take into account their impact on gender equality and women’s empowerment. UN Women endeavors to continually integrate gender-responsive procurement approaches in order to align procurement processes with its mandate as an organization.

Flowchart: Gender-responsive and sustainable procurement

Women entrepreneurs are a growing economic force. Business and enterprises with full or partial female ownership represent a significant share of employment generation and economic growth potential. Governments, international organizations and private sectors recognize that empowering women and women-owned businesses is a catalyst for achieving gender equality and internationally agreed goals and commitments, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, gender-responsive procurement provisions are incorporated in the UN Women solicitation documents and supplier registration (vendor) forms, which drive positive gender equality outcomes and urge suppliers to develop and offer goods/works/services that are in line with the gender equality objectives.

To ensure women’s empowerment in the workplace, UN Women strives to encourage suppliers to include information regarding the percentage of women (1) employed in the supplier’s organization, (2) in executive and senior positions, and (3) shareholders. While this will not be a factor in evaluation, UN Women is collecting this data for statistical purposes to support its mandate to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Suppliers are also invited to (1) become signatories to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) for companies with more than 10 employees), or (2) sign the Voluntary Agreement to Promote Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (for companies with fewer than 10 employees). For examples of companies that exercise good practices, see “Companies leading the way.”

Companies that have either signed the voluntary agreement or the WEPs and have exceptionally strong gender-responsive policies will be invited to the Empower Women Business Hub. Companies that would like to learn from others are welcome to join the Empower Women community, which promotes collaboration, learning and innovation to advance women’s economic empowerment.

UN Women endorses gender-responsive procurement as a critical part of the solution for gender equality and women’s empowerment.