How do we achieve more gender-inclusive procurement? The role for data transparency

Infrastructure development has consequences across society, but all too often the voices of women and girls are missing from conversations about the roads, bridges and water pipes which will impact them. CoST Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Maria da Graça Prado, recently spoke on this issue when participating in the UNDP FairBiz ASEAN Regional Dialogue on The Role of Public Procurement in Achieving the SDGs. In the session The Importance of Gender Responsive Procurement: A Way to Advance Women’s Entrepreneurship, Maria outlined key data-points which could be published by procuring entities to mainstream gender throughout the entire project cycle.

There are opportunities to collect these data-points during the planning, tender and implementation stages of the project cycle. The planning stage is critical to understanding the impact a proposed project will have on women and girls, so it is important to establish whether a gender needs-assessment was carried out as well as considerations such as the location of the project. Data-points such as this are particularly important: a lack of adequate infrastructure connecting communities to water supplies means women around the world are estimated to spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.

At the tender stage, there are opportunities to gather data on the participation of women-led companies in the tender process and explore the reasons behind those companies either winning or losing the contract. As projects are implemented, an analysis of the ratio and type of jobs held by women on the projects will help paint a picture of the extent to which they have been able to benefit from the economic opportunities offered through infrastructure implementation.

Having data on the points above will ensure procurement officials can bring gender issues to the fore during project implementation, and account for the needs of women and girls throughout the entire project cycle. Understanding where these issues are most prevalent is essential to designing effective approaches to resolve them, which can then be embedded throughout the whole of the sector. Ultimately, this will help to support the design and implementation of infrastructure which responds to the needs of all.