The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) defines Gender Responsive Procurement (GRP) as “a process whereby all stakeholders in the procurement of goods, services or works take into account the needs and capacities of women and men, girls and boys in the design, implementation and evaluation of their projects and programmes”. Current standards and regulation as well as upcoming EU legislation, require organizations to look at the impact of their operations on gender equality in their own organization, as well as in their supply chain procurement. Gender responsive procurement is an effective instrument to make an impact and address inequalities at all levels of the supply chain. This blog post will explore the importance of gender responsive procurement, its significance, benefits and its potential to promote gender equality in the workplace.

GRP is the sustainable selection of services and goods that considers the impact on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is the process of incorporating a gender perspective into the procurement of goods and services. It is an essential tool to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. It is also a way to ensure that organizations are getting the best value for their procurement spending. GRP includes ensuring that women-owned and minority-owned businesses have an equal opportunity to participate in the procurement process. It helps to level the playing field in the business world. It also helps to ensure that all businesses have the opportunity to participate in the procurement process, regardless of their size or ownership.

Gender responsive procurement (GRP) is still a relatively new concept, but it is gaining traction.

GRP aims at identifying the negative human rights impacts of existing procurement policies, procedures and processes, also looking specifically at the different impacts and barriers women face within the supply chain (female entrepreneurs, women leaders / women workers in the supply chain), and promoting gender-responsive procurement strategies that mitigate or prevent this negative impact. A number of organizations have adopted GRP policies and guidelines, and more and more companies are beginning to see the benefits of incorporating a gender perspective into their procurement processes. When the disadvantaged position of women workers and women entrepreneurs is ignored during the procurement process, companies risk under-utilizing the potential and leaving a considerable amount of productivity, talent, creativity, and expertise on the table.

Gender responsive procurement

Gender responsive procurement (GRP) is a winning business strategy as well as a powerful catalyst for change.

The sheer size and volume of sourcing worldwide means that businesses have the ability to dramatically influence the way suppliers and value chains operate. The enormous purchasing power represents a huge opportunity to build a better enabling environment for women’s businesses. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, include a specific goal on Gender equality (Goal 5) and recognize the important role of women in the economy. In order to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030, it is essential to mainstream a gender perspective in all areas of work, including procurement. 

In order to be truly effective, gender responsive procurement must be integrated into all aspects of the procurement process, from planning and sourcing to contract management and monitoring. By taking into account the specific needs of women and men, businesses can ensure that all stakeholders have a fair opportunity to participate in and benefit from the procurement process. Reducing gender inequalities through gender-responsive procurement is good for business and is smart economics. It affects corporate profitability, risk mitigation, innovation, and sustainability.

Studies show that gender responsive procurement leads to:

  • Increased revenue and reduced procurement spend,
  • Increased productivity and reduced production cost,
  • Greater supplier availability and resilience,
  • Strengthened brand reputation,
  • Enhanced interest from the financial sector,
  • Improved ability to recruit and retain employees,
  • More innovation and adaptability,
  • Improved service delivery due to greater agility, and
  • Strengthened markets through local economic development and inclusive growth.

Gender responsive procurement is the deliberate inclusion of a gender perspective in all stages of procurement, from planning to execution and evaluation. It is important because it can help ensure that procurement processes and outcomes are fair and equitable for all women and men. It can also help reduce corruption and improve the efficiency of expenditure. With gender-responsive procurement, organizations do not lower their standards to accommodate women-owned businesses or gender-responsive businesses. Rather, the emphasis is on removing barriers and developing the capacity of these suppliers to compete with other businesses, resulting in higher standards.

3 steps to incorporate GRP in your organization

  1. Assess how gender-responsive your organization’s procurement policies, practices and procedures are with the SheSupplies assessment tool. ( if you are interested in taking the assessment, please contact us here )
  2. The baseline information will give you a better understanding of your strengths and areas for improvement and is the start for change.
  3. SheSupplies can provide support services to develop and implement a strategic action plan with smart goals and objectives to improve gender equality performance in your supply chain.

In conclusion, gender responsive procurement is an important way of ensuring that women are not left behind in the economy. It is a way of ensuring that women-owned businesses have an equal chance to compete for contracts. It is also a way of ensuring that the businesses are procuring goods and services that meet the needs of women.