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The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). Available in its iLibrary now is a publication titled Making Public Procurement Work for Women.

It is a publication that gives guidelines for policymakers, procurement officers, and other stakeholders around the world on ways that they can contribute to improving women’s participation in public procurement. “It provides a step-by-step guide to assess the state of their inclusion in public procurement, to identify barriers that women face, to understand policy options and procurement opportunities, to design a roadmap, and to monitor progress over time.”

The premise for this document is that: “In developed countries, public procurement accounts for almost 15% of gross domestic product; in some developing countries, this figure can reach as high as 40%. It is shocking that women-owned businesses account for a mere 1% of this critical sector. Women-owned businesses often cite lack of information about opportunities and requirements, complex procedures, and strict financial and qualification requirements as barriers to winning public tenders,” says the Executive Director of the ITC in the forward.

“But governments have a responsibility,” she continues. “They can act as both buyers and advocates in increasing women’s participation in public procurement. They can increase the proportion of women in direct and indirect sourcing and create supplier diversity by considering options such as minimum targets, subcontracting plans, and focused capacity-building initiatives. Equally important, they can lead from the front in showing why investing in women-owned businesses through procurement makes good business sense.”

Because women-businesses, especially in developing nations, are often small, they don’t have the power (economic or people numbers) or the agility to be able to adapt to changing market conditions and requirements.

This publication identifies six barriers to entry for women-owned businesses when competing for public tenders:

  • Inadequate national legislation and policies
  • Misfit tender design
  • Excessive requirements
  • Poor government practices
  • Lack of information
  • Limited capability

It then gives four steps to help reshape public procurement to be more inclusive, diverse and create equal opportunities for all.

Also featured are case studies from three countries at the forefront of this initiative – Chile, the Gambia, and Nigeria – which are all finding solutions to these challenges.

The publication is available in five languages and is available to buy as a book or to download as a pdf.! is a platform for women-owned businesses, organizations, companies, and ITC SheTrades partners to:

  • Be part of the global SheTrades network
  • Sell products and services and sources from women-owned businesses
  • Learn new skills with a range of free webinars and e-learning materials
  • Participate in workshops, trade fairs, and other business events made possible by its partners and sponsors
  • Stay up to date with activities, news, success stories, videos, publications, and more

You can access that here.

It’s also good to know that GovShop — PSF’s supplier intelligence platform and ecosystem to help government buyers find the right suppliers and partners — is working towards the purpose of creating open government markets for all so that suppliers of all types don’t have to keep facing the same, traditional barriers to entry.

Explore GovShop here, and create a free account for your business here.

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