Gender in practice

© iStock / Wirestock

Companies can use various levers to promote gender equity in their supply chains. These should always be considered in relation to the respective context, region, and specific supply chain. The following overview shows possible fields of action, which can then be further developed according to the context and the supply chain.

Fields of action

Land rights

Land rights, whether formal or informal, are often a prerequisite for access to other key resources such as organisations, training, and services. Promoting and formalising land rights for women and other marginalised groups can facilitate access to these key resources and enable long-term investment in land and production.


Producer organisations often provide space for capacity building, access to resources, inputs, markets and the development of social networks and bargaining power. Gender-equitable access to and participation in producer organisations (e.g. in leading positions) enables everyone, regardless of gender, to benefit from these advantages.

Labour force

Women are often involved in care work and agricultural activities and are therefore exposed to multiple burdens. Measures should aim to reduce this workload instead of creating additional burdens.

Training and extension services

Access to training and extension services is often unequally distributed. Promoting gender-equitable provision and participation can contribute to capacity development and improved production and quality. Female and marginalised trainers and extension officers can better reach women and marginalised groups and serve as role models to normalise their role as farmers and leaders.

Digital technologies

Access to digital technologies in agricultural and food systems is also often unequally distributed. Gender-equitable access can reduce information asymmetries and mobility restrictions and promote the economic participation of women and marginalised groups.

Income and financial inclusion

Women and marginalised groups often earn less or nothing at all from their participation in supply chains. Promoting gender-equitable household relationships, gender-specific niche production and access to financial knowledge, services and digital technologies can support financial inclusion and independence.

Internal business practices

Companies can promote gender equality in their supply chains through inclusive and needs-orientated corporate policies, close and long-term cooperation with suppliers, the collection and use of gender-disaggregated data and gender-responsive due diligence and procurement practices.

It is important to consider the context for all fields of action. This often involves specifically addressing men and local community structures to increase acceptance.

Practical examples

Mahau Berseri, Ella, member of the women's group KP3, checks the growth of new shoots of seedlings in the tree nursery supported by CAPPA in Sungai Penoban Village (Jambi Province). © FONAP/FORTASBI

From sustainable palm oil to sustainable landscapes: The member project of the Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl e.V. (FONAP) in Indonesia

In cooperation with the Indonesian Palm Oil Forum for Smallholder Farmers FORTASBI and the Indonesian NGOs Setara-Jambi and CAPPA, 27 members of FONAP have been working in the largest palm oil producing country since March 2022. The project aims to support smallholder farmers in operating more sustainably in their palm oil production and beyond. The project pursues both ecological and social goals.

Goal: From sustainable palm oil to sustainable landscapes


•    March 2022 until February 2023 (Phase 1)

•    September 2023 until September 2024 (Phase 2)

Who: Cooperation with the indonesian palm oil forum for smallholders FORTASBI in collaboration with the local NGOs Setara-Jambi and CAPPA and involvement of Koltiva in Phase 2. 

Where: Tanjung Jabung Barat and Tebo (buffer zone to the Bukit Tiga Puluh national parc), Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia

© Growasia


When: 01.12.2022–31.03.2026

Who: Grow Asia, together with Mars, Save the Children, Partnership for Indonesia's Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Where: South Sulawesi and north and east of Luwu, Indonesia

© Silias Koch

Sustainability and value creation in agricultural supply chains in Ethiopia (SUVASE)

An integrated development partnership between ECOM-Agroindustrial and GIZ for a sustainable coffee supply chain in Ethiopia. 

When: 01.09.2022–31.12.2024

Who: ECOM-Agroindustrial and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Where: Alle and Becho districts in the Illubabor zone and Mana district in the Jimma zone in the Oromia region of Ethiopia

Gender tools

General / wide-ranging tools

Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)

Author/Developer: UN Women & UN Global Compact

Target group: Companies

Goal: Holistic toolkit for companies to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in the workplace, in their supply chains and in society.

Gender Gap Analysis Tool (Part of the WEPs)

Author/Developer: UN Global Compact, UN Women, Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IDB Invest (2020)

Target group: Companies

– Identification of company performance, gaps, and opportunities around gender equality
– Presentation of best practices

Gender-Responsive Procurement Assessment Tool (Part of the WEPs)

Author/Developer: UN Women in consultation with companies from Asia, the Pacific and the EU (2023)

Target group: Companies

– Analysing progress on corporate policies and practices for gender-responsive procurement
– Identification of gaps and opportunities for improvement

Gender Equality Playbook for Business. A toolkit for the private sector on achieving global gender equality by 2030.

Author/Developer: CARE International

Target group: Companies

– Supporting companies to advance SDG5 (gender equality) as part of the 2030 Agenda
– Presentation of different fields of action in which companies can engage for gender equality

Focus on agriculture & agricultural supply chains

IDH Gender Toolkit

Author/Developer: IDH

Target group: Companies and supply chain actors

– Presentation of the business case for gender
– 6-step roadmap for integrating gender aspects into supply chain approaches/projects

Gender Equity Index

Author/Developer: Equal Origins

Target group: Companies that offer advisory and extension services for smallholder farmers and producer organisations

– Self-assessment of corporate practices and performance from a gender perspective
– Identification of opportunities
– Equal Origins offers follow-up advisory

Gender Transformative Tracker Tool

Author/Developer: International Coffee Organisation (ICO) & Oxfam Business Advisory Services

Target group: ICO, companies, civil society and public stakeholders in the coffee sector

– Stocktaking and presentation of gaps and opportunities around gender
– Presentation of example measures to strengthen activities, strategies, or proposals in the coffee sector from a gender perspective

Gender-Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool

Author/Developer: Value for Women, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, Walmart Foundation

Target group: Companies in the agricultural and food sector

– Analysing gender integration in different areas of the company
– Presentation of recommendations/options for action on how companies can promote gender integration across their business areas

Reaching and Empowering Women with Digital Solutions in the agricultural last mile

Author/Developer: GSMA (2022)

Target group: Donors, investors in the agricultural sector

– Analysis of women's limitations and barriers to participation in digitalised agricultural supply chains
– Identification and recommendation of best practices to promote their participation

Focus on due diligence & decent work

Integrating a gender perspective into supply chain due diligence

Author/developer: OECD & FAO (2021)

Target group: Companies in the agricultural and food sector

Goal: To illustrate how companies can integrate a gender perspective into their due diligence activities along a 5-step process


Author/Developer: Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Target group: Companies (e.g. in the agricultural sector)

– Supporting companies to integrate the gender dimension into their due diligence processes
– Provision of a step-by-step, sector-specific roadmap with concrete recommendations

Gender-Responsive Due Diligence Platform

Author/Developer: Women Win, Plan International Netherlands and Partnering for Social Impact with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Target group: Companies with international supply chains as well as suppliers and low-tier buyers

– Consolidation of a variety of materials, examples, and tools on gender-responsive due diligence (GRDD) and its practical implementation
– Orientation of companies in the implementation of GRDD
– Provision of a self-assessment test for companies

Gender Data Indicators

Author/Developer: Ethical Trade Initiative, BSR, Fair Wear Foundation, Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, Dutch Agreement for Sustainable Garments and Textiles

Target group: Companies in the agricultural and food sector

– Supporting companies to collect more and better gender-disaggregated data on their supply chains in a 3-step process
– Consideration of gender-disaggregated data as an integral part of risk analyses and monitoring

Decent Work Toolkit for Sustainable Procurement – Gender Module

Author/Developer: UN Global Compact

Target group: Companies

– Presentation of why Decent Work is relevant and how the implementation of Decent Work can be promoted
– Presentation of the relevance of gender aspects through a gender module

Gender-based violence in global supply chains: Resource kit

Author/Developer: Fear Wear Foundation and International Labour Organization (ILO)

Target group: Companies, employers, trade unions and other stakeholders in supply chains

– Raising awareness of the causes and effects of gender-based violence – including on business efficiency
– Support companies and other stakeholders to combat gender-based violence and discrimination in their supply chains
– Compilation of background information, expert material, case studies and practical strategies to overcome gender-based violence against women workers