The salience of recognising gender based issues in the workforce, supply chain and life has been significantly increasing for decades. Major strides have been made to improve equality for women and men professionally, but does this categorisation leave something to be desired for those who do not fit into it? Non-binary, transgender and gender non conforming people have been somewhat left out of the ever progressing movement towards gender equality. SheSupplies is encouraging businesses to move beyond the gender binary towards inclusive supply chain diversity.


The gender spectrum is a diverse and varied way to express oneself, while most people fall into the ‘man’ or ‘woman’ categories, commonly prescribed at birth, this is not the case for everyone. The Human Rights Campaign defined non-binary as “an adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman.” The expression of one’s gender can fluctuate throughout their life, or remain stagnantly undefined. With a growing number of people outwardly not conforming to ‘typical’ gender identities, the professional world is beginning to adapt. SheSupplies emphasizes how integral data collection is for documenting gender based issues, and reporting and tracking progress made. The leading data collection and analytics company in gender based issues in business, Equileap, has provided some helpful insights on looking beyond the gender binary to inclusive supply chain diversity.

In 2022, Equileap began recording non-binary genders in their dataset and found that 8%, of the 3787 companies analyzed globally, acknowledged a gender category other than male or female. Most commonly referred to as “non-binary”, however phrases like “gender diverse”, “agender”, “genderqueer” were also used, some opted for “undisclosed” or “non specified”. The top 100 companies for equality actually doubled this statistic, with 16% having a non-binary gender category. This is a substantial finding for the progression of gender diverse inclusion and can set an example of how to incorporate gender diverse people into your datasets. 

The evidence provided by Equileap not only tells us what percentage of companies are using three or more gender categories, but also where these companies are. Nearly every country within the Equileap dataset has at least one company reporting a gender category other than male or female. When looking beyond the gender binary to inclusive supply chain diversity there are practical steps to take. When assessing your suppliers, simply add a non-binary or gender undisclosed category into your assessment protocol. This creates the opportunity and awareness within your company to accommodate for gender outside of the binary. Sourcing from suppliers who are transparent with their gender demographics, for example who are in leadership positions, management, and general staff. This is extremely important for all measures of equality in sourcing and procurement. Sourcing from countries with progressive social policy is another way to encourage gender diversity in your supply chain, Equileap has found that “of the five markets where we see the most disclosure of non-binary workforce data (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and U.S.), four have enacted legislative changes to recognise nonbinary people in recent years.” Whilst this may not always be realistic, depending on the industry and what is being procured, global business can play an imperative role in social progression by taking steps to enact change for the better.

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