Gender procurement

Public procurement contracts should always be awarded in observance of the principles of equality and non-discrimination, transparency, competition and a flat-rate basis

Basic principles governing public procurement contracts require that they should always be awarded in observance of the principles of equality and non-discrimination, transparency, competition and a flat-rate basis.

Public procurement has a great potential to promote gender equality. Whenever possible, it is important to incorporate gender equality in the subject of the contract itself. This will allow the incorporation of gender equality clauses requiring gender technical competence to the awarding entities, as well as the inclusion of gender criteria for the evaluation of the submitted proposals and for further implementation.

However, this is not always easy or possible. Therefore, it is important that gender equality clauses are incorporated into the conditions for implementation of the contract. This would affect any contract and would ensure that public procurement becomes an instrument for gender equality.

Examples of factors that may be considered when evaluating a proposal:

  • Is the proposal briefed on relevant gender issues and provided with background documentation, including literature and documentation relevant to gender equality issues and national and EU policy documents on gender equality (for example, relevant material from EIGE)?
  • Is the project team gender-balanced? Do the team members have an adequate level of gender expertise?
  • Does the proposal include sex-disaggregated data and gender indicators?
  • How do the team members propose to measure the different impacts of activities and interventions on women and men?
  • Will the views of female beneficiaries and other stakeholders, such as gender experts or women’s organisations be sought?

Examples of requirements that may be included within the implementation conditions:

  • Gender-balanced composition of the project team and beneficiaries;
  • Balanced presence of women and men in decision-making positions;
  • Specific analysis about gender-related concerns in the project and in the reports:
    • mapping of the situation of women and men in the concerned area;
    • elaboration of gender-specific objectives in line with the latest findings and with the objectives of the call;
    • explanation on how these objectives have been achieved;
  • Use of sex-disaggregated data and gender indicators;
  • The application of user-centred and/or participatory methodologies which take into account a gender dimension by directly involving a fair share of women in the process and by looking at how gender inequalities/differences are structuring the domains and the contexts of a particular policy area;
  • Preference given to women when hiring staff in male-dominated sectors.

The contract negotiations with applicants whose proposals were selected for funding are a very important phase, in which significant improvements to project plans can be realised. Thoroughly address the gender equality concerns in contract negotiations with applicants. If needed, demand corrective measures before signing a grant agreement.

Further reading

Equal opportunities for men and women in public procurement contracts. A few recommendations.

Observatory of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life’s website, which is a project managed by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).