What is gender-responsive public procurement?

Gender-responsive public procurement (GRPP) is a gender mainstreaming tool to promote gender equality through public procurement[1].

GRPP is procurement that promotes gender equality through the purchase of works, supplies or services by public sector bodies. This means that buyers and suppliers look at the impact of all of the contracted activities related to women’s and men’s interests and concerns and design and deliver contracts in a way that reduces gender inequalities. GRPP may target inequalities in the workforce through the delivery of a contract (whether local or remote), in the way a contract is performed and/or via the impact it has on users or recipients of the goods, services or works purchased. It does not necessarily imply higher costs, but it does require knowledge and capacity.

Applying GRPP to promote gender equality from the beginning of the procurement cycle means asking questions such as the following.

  • Do the services, supplies or works that I intend to buy have different implications for women and men in all their diversity?
  • Do women and men, in all their diversity, have different needs in relation to the services, supplies or works to be purchased?
  • Which social and labour laws and collective agreements that promote gender equality at work are applicable to the contract?

‘Lived realities’ of women and men ‘in all their diversity’

It is important to consider the lived realities of women and men in all their diversity. While the term ‘lived realities’ is meant to recognise differences between women and men, the addition of ‘in all their diversity’ recognises how other characteristics such as age, socioeconomic situation, disability, race, ethnicity, religion and rural or urban location also affect women and men in their lived realities (e.g. the lived reality of a young woman living in a rural area of Sweden will be very different from that of an older woman living in an urban area of Spain)[2].