By Brian Collett — Companies are being encouraged by the UN to trade with women-owned businesses and integrate them into their supply networks.
The UN is aiming to provide a “deeper understanding of the barriers and challenges” preventing women’s businesses from breaking into local and global trading chains.
It outlines the tools and techniques for breaching the barriers and using the “untapped economic potential represented by women-owned businesses”.
The guidance is given in a manual released by UN Women
, the arm of the organisation that promotes empowerment of women. The manual responds to the signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles document drawn up by UN Women in partnership with the UN Global Compact, which advises all businesses on adopting sustainable and socially responsible policies.
UN Women points out: “In today’s economy less than 1 per cent of spending by large businesses on suppliers is earned by women-owned businesses.” Yet, it adds, women’s enterprises contribute significantly to global growth and generate millions of jobs.
UN Women’s argument is that it is therefore smart economics to invest in women-owned businesses and bring them into corporate supply chains.
The proposals are in line anyway with the UN’s sustainable development goals, which recommend that companies should help to create enterprises and back the supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
UN Women emphasises that for many women “entrepreneurship offers a path to economic empowerment”.