Securing Corporate Commitment
Securing management level support is a necessary prerequisite to successfully developing and implementing a gender-responsive procurement strategy. Without this support, the strategy is unlikely to succeed.
The first step toward gaining corporate support is developing a compelling business case. In general terms, the business case is clear. Gender-responsive procurement increases profitability, provides access to new markets, increases supplier availability, and enhances corporate reputation and customer loyalty (See Discussion, supra, p. __). The immediate challenge will be to develop a viable strategy for a gender-responsive procurement program that aligns with the corporation’s mission and supports its core business drivers. This requires an understanding of the capabilities and capacity of women-owned businesses to supply the corporation’s requirements, and how the corporation might be able to unlock and leverage those capabilities. This requires gender-disaggregated data.
Globally, efforts are underway to fill the gender data gap. For instance, in 2012, the United States, in partnership with the United Nations, OECD and others, launched the Evidence and Data for Gender Equality (EDGE) Initiative, which seeks to push existing efforts to have comparable gender indicators on education, employment, entrepreneurship and assets across countries. The first phase of this three-year initiative included: (1) development of a database for international data and metadata compilation covering basic education and employment indicators; (2) development of standards and guidelines for entrepreneurship and assets indicators; and (3) piloting data collection in several countries. The ultimate goal of programs like EDGE is to provide policymakers with the data they need to more fully understand the challenges facing women (and girls) and to develop evidence-based policies and programs addressing those challenges.