Gender equality is no longer just a matter of social justice; it has become a strategic priority for businesses worldwide. Today, companies across diverse industries realise the significance of promoting gender equality within their organisational structures and throughout their supply chains. By forging sustainable partnerships and collaborations that prioritise gender equality, businesses can create an inclusive and resilient business ecosystem. In this blog, we will explore how gender equality collaborations empower supply chains, and specifically focusing on their significance in high-risk supply chains.


Understanding Gender Equality Collaborations


Gender equality collaborations involve the coming together of diverse organisations to address gender-related human rights risks and promote gender equality within supply chains. These collaborations bring stakeholders from different sectors, such as businesses, public entities, and civil society organisations, together to collectively drive change. By pooling their expertise, resources, and influence, these partnerships can create a more comprehensive and impactful approach to addressing gender inequality in high-risk supply chains. They enable organisations to identify and mitigate risks, develop targeted strategies, and implement interventions that promote gender equality and protect workers’ rights.


These collaborations leverage the unique strengths and perspectives of each partner. Businesses contribute industry knowledge, supply chain influence, and responsible sourcing practices. Public entities provide regulatory guidance and support, fostering an enabling environment for gender equality initiatives. Civil society organisations bring advocacy, grassroots connections, and expertise in social impact. By collaborating, these stakeholders can share best practices, learn from one another, and develop innovative solutions to overcome systemic barriers to gender equality in supply chains.


The Benefits of Gender Equality Collaborations


  • Mitigating Human Rights Risks: Collaborations enable companies to effectively identify and address gender-related human rights risks in their supply chains. By pooling resources and knowledge, partners can conduct thorough assessments, implement robust monitoring mechanisms, and develop targeted solutions to prevent and mitigate these risks. This proactive approach helps protect the rights and well-being of workers, particularly women, in high-risk sectors.
  • Driving Innovation and Best Practices: Gender equality collaborations foster knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices among partners. Different organisations bring unique perspectives and experiences, enabling collective learning and innovation. By sharing successful strategies and approaches, collaborations can accelerate progress towards gender equality and inspire others within the industry to adopt similar practices.
  • Enhancing Supplier Diversity and Inclusion: Collaborations provide opportunities to improve supplier diversity and inclusion, particularly by increasing the participation of women-owned businesses in supply chains. By actively seeking and supporting women entrepreneurs, collaborations contribute to economic empowerment, poverty reduction, and community development. Diverse and inclusive supply chains not only foster gender equality but also drive economic growth and resilience.


Best Practice Examples


Several real-life examples illustrate the successful implementation of gender equality collaborations. For example, in partnership with UN Women, the Coca-Cola Company launched the 5by20 initiative. This collaboration aimed to economically empower five million women entrepreneurs across Coca-Cola’s value chain by 2020. Through this initiative, women were provided with training, access to finance, and mentorship opportunities, fostering gender equality and promoting women’s entrepreneurship. Another great example is BSR’s HERproject, Gap Inc., P.A.C.E, CARE, and Better Works’ RISE (Reimagining Industry to Support Equality) initiative, created to accelerate gender equality and empowerment for women workers in the global garment, footwear, and home furnishings supply chains.


With 75% of garment workers being women, who often face gender inequality, harassment, and systemic barriers, RISE aims to support global brands in empowering women through three core strategies: strengthening knowledge and skills, transforming business practices, and influencing public policy. By leveraging the expertise of the founding partners and a network of local partners, RISE seeks to reach up to 20 million workers over the next decade. These real-life examples demonstrate the positive impact that gender equality collaborations can have. Through targeted initiatives, such collaborations address the unique challenges faced by women in supply chains, foster economic empowerment, and create a more inclusive and equitable business environment. By sharing resources, expertise, and best practices, organisations can collectively drive meaningful change and advance gender equality.




Gender equality collaborations empower supply chains, epspecially high-risk supply chains. By leveraging partnerships, organisations can mitigate human rights risks, drive innovation, and promote supplier diversity and inclusion. The key elements of successful collaborations include shared vision and values, comprehensive gender analysis, capacity building, and transparent communication. By embracing these elements, companies can contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable business ecosystem that empowers women and promotes gender equality at all levels of the supply chain.