Why gender Responsive Procurement Matters

Corporations are well positioned to promote gender equality and empower women in their workplaces, in their communities, and through their purchasing policies and practices. The purpose of this Guide is to provide corporations with a better understanding of the barriers and challenges preventing women-owned businesses from accessing and fully participating in corporate value chains. It also provides tools and techniques for overcoming these barriers and leveraging the vast untapped economic potential represented by women-owned businesses.

The sheer size and volume of corporate purchasing worldwide means that corporations have the potential to dramatically change the way suppliers and value chains operate. To put this in perspective, about 63 percent of the top 175 global economic entities are corporations and not countries based on annual revenue or Gross Domestic Product, as the case may be (White, 2012). Each year, corporations spend trillions of dollars acquiring goods and services, yet purchases from women-owned businesses account for a mere 1 percent of the total spend (Vazquez & Sherman, 2013, p. 43). By ignoring women-owned businesses, corporations are missing an opportunity to expand their markets, diversify their value chains, and grow the economy, while simultaneously improving the lives of women and girls around the globe. A growing body of research demonstrates that the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women is critical to economic growth and achieving many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is also the socially responsible thing to do.