Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relies on government, business and civil society collaboration. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a core objective of the SDGs and is essential to sustainable global growth and development. One of the ways that we can work together now to deliver gender equality and women’s empowerment is by creating more opportunities for women business owners to access new markets.
As part of this effort, we created a guide specifically geared towards corporations to provide a deeper understanding of the barriers and challenges women-owned businesses face, and practical tools and techniques to help increase corporate sourcing from women-owned businesses through gender-responsive procurement.
1 What is gender-responsive corporate procurement?
Gender responsive-corporate procurement means promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment through purchasing policies, but it does not mean lowering standards!
To learn more check out the Executive Summary section!
2 Why does gender-responsive corporate-procurement matter?
It is not only smart business to practice gender-responsive procurement, but there are also benefits for economic development.
To learn more check out the Why Gender Responsive Procurement Matters section.
3 Which of the following is NOT a barrier women-owned businesses face in accessing corporate procurement?
Corporations procure many different types of goods and services, but they just need an in-depth understanding of their supplier base, and more complete information about ownership. Certifications can go a long way to help identify women-owned businesses in the marketplace. Corporate membership organizations such as WBENC in the U.S. and WEConnect International outside of the U.S. offer buyers access to certified women’s business enterprises.
Another challenge women-owned businesses face is that they lack access to finance. Often, they have less collateral to secure loans compared to men, and banks loans to women-owned businesses tend to be smaller.
Limited access to networks is another factor in the way of women’s participation in corporate procurement. Women-owned businesses often are not aware of procurement opportunities and procedures because they are underrepresented in business networks. One way companies can address this information gap is by facilitating networking opportunities for suppliers.
Additionally, balancing between owning a business and being responsible for a disproportionate share of family care-taking responsibilities constrains women business-owners.
To learn more about these and other challenges contributing to gender gaps in procurement check out the section Overcoming the Challenges Facing Women-Owned Business Enterprise section.
4 Which of these are effective strategies for removing barriers for women-owned enterprises to access contracting opportunities?
Streamlining application processes, providing feedback to suppliers and sponsoring networking opportunities are all effective strategies for removing barriers facing women-owned enterprises. Building multiple requirements into large contracts and awarding contracts based on just price rather than value for money actually adds to the barriers women-owned businesses face.
To learn more, visit the section Strategic Sourcing on Supplier Development.
5 Which of the following are examples of actions companies can take to develop a comprehensive gender-responsive procurement program?
All of these are examples of effective strategies in a comprehensive gender-responsive procurement program. A comprehensive gender-responsive procurement programs includes top-level management support, techniques to encourage prime suppliers and sub-contractors to adopt gender-responsive procurement programs and targets and goals on percentage of corporate procurement spend on women-owned businesses!
To learn more, visit the section on Building Corporate Capacity and Commitment.