ICRW
Menu

Agriculture

Agriculture

 

Off-Grid Energy

 

Power Sector

 

Healthcare

 

These tools for the agriculture sector can be used to explore gender opportunities, screen potential investments through a gender lens, and advise portfolio companies on how to better integrate gender into their operations and supply chains.

GENDER OPPORTUNITIES EXPLORER

Understand opportunities to better integrate gender in a company’s operations and supply chain

GENDER SCORING TOOL

Complete a questionnaire about the target company to generate a personalized gender scorecard

CASE STUDIES

Explore how leading companies integrate gender into their operations, and the resulting business and social benefits

  • DSW (Kenya).

    Agriculture
    Gender Opportunities Explorer

    The Gender Opportunities Explorer highlights opportunities to better integrate gender in an agricultural company’s operations and supply chain.

    Click through the horizontal tabs at the top to consider segments of the value chain that are most relevant to the target company:

    • Input Provision & Use
    • Farming & Production
    • Storage, Transportation, Aggregation & Processing
    • Marketing & Final Sales

     

    The following gender-smart business domains are listed in the lefthand tabs where relevant:

    • Governance
    • Workforce
    • Supply Chain
    • Consumers
    • Community

    As you move across the value chain, explore various gender opportunities that intersect in agriculture.

    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Embed and facilitate women’s leadership in new agribusinesses and commodity groups, ensuring women (the traditional custodians of many commodities) remain central as products become increasingly commercialized and valued.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Institutionalizing gender equity

      Institutionalize commitments to ensure gender integration efforts are successful across the company:

      • Ensure minimum national and international environmental and social (E&S) standards for women are met – such as access to unions, grievance mechanisms, payment of minimum wages, maternity leave, provision of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical facilities, and stringent sexual harassment policies.
      • Secure buy-in from senior leadership by ensuring all plans and operations harmonize with national policies and frameworks around agriculture and around gender.
      • Establish corporate-level commitment to gender equity, and clearly communicate this to managers and staff.
      • Have a company plan for gender diversity, including targets and measurement systems.
      • Report externally on company plan for gender diversity and targets, then report out on progress towards those targets (e.g., through an annual report).
      • Collect disaggregated HR data on recruitment, hiring, pay, promotion, and retention by gender (and other categories such as race and ethnicity).
      • Review and revise all HR policies to contain gender-inclusive language and ensure gender equality.
      • Assess and revise internal and external communications to contain gender neutral and or gender equitable language and photos.
      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work or leave).
       

      Recruitment & hiring

      Implement equitable recruitment and hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from job descriptions and listings. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job (e.g., for physically demanding roles, describe specific tasks like climbing a ladder rather than encouraging the “physically fit” to apply).
      • Expand sourcing networks to attract a more diverse talent pool particularly in fields and functions that are traditionally male-dominated. Look at diversity-oriented job groups, and partner with diversity organizations or diversity-oriented groups at universities to offer internships to high potential female candidates.
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Engage women in non-traditional jobs to fill roles at a low cost and contribute to improvements in gender equity. This not only opens up a wider talent pool, but also can contribute to enhanced employee satisfaction and retention.
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job.
      • Prohibit inquiring about the status or plans of the following in job applications or during interview processes: marriage, pregnancy, or care responsibilities.
      • Analyze and revise existing internship / apprenticeship programs to set balanced participation from males and females as an expectation. If new programs are developed, design the program with gender-inclusive processes.
       

      Professional development & skill building

      Develop, motivate, and retain organizational talent with equitable opportunities to build skills and advance:

      • Train local women and men to engage constructively in the operations and management of the project or business, laying the foundations for greater community ownership of farming companies in the future.
      • Provide ongoing training and field-based mentorship opportunities to build technical skills and enhance access to resources and networks. Ensure professional development and career advancement opportunities meet the needs of, and are accessible to and used by both men and women.
      • Upskill female workers and propel them to higher level positions. Invest in training and extension services tailored for women to improve their yields and upgrade their skills for more technical and senior roles in the sector. Ensure training content covers both hard/technical skills and soft skills needed. Specific skills could range from irrigation and cultivation techniques, to farm management and business administration in anticipation of leadership roles.
      • Tailor training content and delivery style to female employees to increase effectiveness of knowledge/skills transfer related to sales of farming inputs and farming practices. Consider: timing, location, language of instruction, video versus written content (e.g., video trainings may help female employees to overcome mobility, time, and literacy constraints), provision of transportation and childcare, and use of female trainers/extension workers (including in training videos).
      • Upskill female workers (as above) and propel them into non-traditional roles for women in the local market context (e.g., as irrigation engineers, machine technicians, agronomists, etc.). Greater representation and visibility of women in technical and senior roles can have a role model effect for younger women interested in agricultural careers, and lead to norm change in the sector.
       

      Facilitate ongoing support and networking opportunities among female employees:

      • Pair new hires with a sponsor to advocate for their interest and make their accomplishments visible to higher-level staff.
      • Implement a mentorship program, assessing young workers’ needs and matching them with relevant male or female mentors. Sensitize both mentors and mentees on the purpose and appropriate dynamics of the relationship, and create incentives for participation.
      • Create conversation / connection opportunities with female role models. Highlighting successful women in leadership positions can attract female applicants and encourage current employees to take on leadership roles.
       

      Employee evaluation & promotion

      • Assess employee performance based on standard decisive factors and metrics that are consistent across other employees in similar job functions. Ensure managers maintain a regular (i.e., monthly or bi-monthly) performance log for each direct-report.
      • Use a uniform evaluation cycle. Conducting performance reviews of all employees simultaneously helps supervisors dedicate ample time to write good evaluations and ensure consistency among all employees.
      • Ensure managers are given adequate time to do their evaluations, as the more rushed people are, the more they rely on stereotypes.
      • Establish and implement inclusive, gender-equitable succession plans (ensuring succession plans including gender-neutral selection criteria and plans to develop candidates).
       

      Pay equity

      Eliminate pay gaps between positions of comparable levels:

      • Do not ask for previous salary history or have applicants name a salary when hiring.
      • Create narrow pay bands, as women are less likely to negotiate the first offer.
      • If possible, implement pay equity processes grounded in statistical analysis with annual reviews, including bonuses or commissions. Control for observable factors such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
      • Provide managers with pay data for the organization, benchmarks for their male and female supervisees, and if applicable, market information on employment in the sector.
      • Inform employees of low, median, and high pay ranges for particular roles.
      • Implement formal remediation protocols to ensure pay equity processes are implemented appropriately and that manager discretion doesn’t promote inequality.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female employees, assisting women to establish their own accounts if necessary. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and potentially increases employee satisfaction and retention.
       

      Flexible work & care

      • Offer flexible work opportunities to accommodate work-life demands of men and women. Options will vary based on the demands of the position and could include: flexible start times, compressed work week, and/or telecommuting or working from home.
      • Measure and track proportion of employees who are and are not using flexible work options, and disaggregate by gender.
      • Encourage managers to make use of benefits to demonstrate their acceptance to their teams (such as flexible work, parental leave, family and medical leave, and paid-time off).
      • Support access to child and dependent care, such as provide on-site childcare, reserve reduced-rate spaces in local childcare centers, and/or offer subsidies or vouchers to preferred child and elder care providers.
       

      Health & safety considerations

      Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:

      • Provide health care benefits (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid maternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid paternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Establish return-to-work policies, providing a transition back to full-time work for parents returning from leave. Ensure employees return to the same or an equivalent job with no substantial change in contractual or other relevant terms.
      • Provide an option for a phased return to work after parental leave.
      • Support new mothers’ return to work by providing a private rest area or lactation room for breastfeeding/pumping.
      • Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Conduct equity and impact analysis of benefits, including usage and uptake of benefits disaggregated by gender.
      • Provide options for insurance packages that cover the specific health needs of women (e.g., gynecology, maternal health, reproductive health, cancer screens, domestic violence treatment).
       

      Ensure workplace is safe for all employees:

      • Provide adequate and safe toilet facilities for women that accommodate hygiene needs, such as clean water and soap and disposal methods for feminine hygiene products.
      • If applicable, provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for men and women, accounting for female sizing where needed and especially taking into consideration the needs of pregnant and nursing women. Ensure employees have access to sex segregated changing areas.
       

      Accommodate pregnant workers’ health and safety needs:

      • In cases where a job may potentially be harmful or physically challenging for pregnant women, allow temporary job reassignment at full pay and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon returning to previous role.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where workers are safe and productive:

      • Develop a strong sexual harassment policy and make employees aware of it. This can include a definition of sexual harassment, and a statement about the company’s commitment to providing a “zero-tolerance” workplace free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It should detail consequences for violators of the policy, potentially including termination and/or referral to law enforcement if appropriate, referencing any legislation on gender-based violence and/or workplace harassment.
      • Research and include in the policy a local referral pathway for survivors of violence. The policy should provide direction on how to lodge sexual harassment complaints and identify which services are available for victims through the workplace and in the community. In addition, the policy should stipulate that complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and discretion.
      • Include a whistleblower policy to reduce fear of retaliation, and raise awareness on how workers can use it to anonymously report instances of GBV and sexual harassment on the work site or in the community. It should state that preventing and addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of all employees. It also should clarify protections and support for bystander employees who report incidents, as well as the process for action and follow up.
      • Socialize the policy with all levels of workers and contractors, providing annual refresher training to permanent employees on zero-tolerance for all forms of violence (including engaging in sex-based harassment or acts of sexual exploitation of women and girls while on business travel). Ensure information is widely disseminated in native language(s) using images or audio/video explanations where literacy levels are low.
      • Train all new workers and employees on what constitutes and causes different manifestations of GBV, including sex-based harassment and sexual exploitation. Include bystander training, which instills strategies and skills in coworkers to intervene and deter GBV and harassment.
      • Implement a confidential grievance mechanism for victims of GBV/harassment that involves third party reporting systems and transparent consequences. If promoting a hotline, provide employees with phone access or small denominations of mobile “airtime” where needed.
      • Train resource personnel who can help handle the process. Form a confidential committee with “diagonal” representation (not just senior HR) to improve accountability in investigating and responding to GBV and harassment reports.
      • To encourage others to use the grievance mechanism, regularly inform employees about resolved cases and any disciplinary action taken, omitting identifying details to preserve confidentiality.
       

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence in the community:

      • Consider female employees’ safety when traveling to and from work, especially if in remote locations. For example, have female and male colleagues travel together if/when needed. If safety on public transportation is a risk for women, consider providing designated employer shuttles or other safe modes of transportation (e.g., car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring women are consulted on the decision.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilities or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for female farmers and women-led and/or gender-equitable cooperatives. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/advertisements about the opportunity.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms or cooperatives that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart suppliers. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying a modest premium for products sourced from equitable producer groups.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Remove bias from role descriptions or messaging about the opportunity. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed in the role.
      • Advertise the opportunity through channels that women can also access, determined by context (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local women’s group meetings).
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues, or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Financing

      Enhance women’s access to financing to purchase agricultural inputs or equipment/machinery for planting. Women may lack access to collateral needed for traditional financing, therefore provision of innovative financing mechanisms specifically for purchase of agricultural inputs can increase access to needed inputs and ultimately increase yields. To increase access to finance, companies can:

      • Organize women borrowers into groups or networks and facilitate village savings and loans (VSL) schemes.
      • Train women borrowers on financial management.
      • Support or establish cooperatives with a minimum threshold of women in leadership.
      • Partner with micro-finance institutions and/or provide loans, crop insurance, and other essential financial products.
      • When working with financial institutions, provide financial support to reduce risk and conduct education / advocacy to increase ability and willingness to lend to women farmers.
      • Create flexible terms, such as low interest rates and small repayment amounts.
      • Utilize mobile banking and mobile money transactions to eliminate the need for farmers / contractors to have a bank account or travel long distances to pay for agricultural inputs or implements.
      • Promote affordable mobile-based savings products for individuals.
      • Sell season-specific vouchers (paper, electronic cards, or mobile-based) immediately after harvest to “”nudge”” female farmers toward investing when they have cash on hand. These can be redeemed in the appropriate season for approved fertilizers, seeds, chemicals, and farm implements (often with time-limited discounts or government-subsidies) to increase farmers’ use of inputs.
      • Directly rent out productive assets to facilitate women’s swift, affordable access to equipment that can optimize their agricultural production (e.g., tractors, farm implements, mechanized seeders, fishing equipment, tools for constructing livestock quarters)”
       

      Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas to promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • Conduct an assessment of the local economy and create opportunities for women to fill casual labor vacancies and other temporary tenders in roles where women cluster. Eg., SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy or water collection.
      • If selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Eliminate differential valuation of labor by offering consistent daily rates for casual labor in functions where women and men concentrate respectively.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female farmers or contractors. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and may increase their satisfaction and participation in the supply chain.
      • Provide training to female farmers or contractors to increase reach and effectiveness of knowledge and skills transfer related to sales of farming inputs and farming practices.
      • Support market linkages and consignment opportunities for input suppliers.
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
       

      Operations

      • Utilize innovative information and communication technology (ICT) services in a gender-sensitive way to increase female farmers’ access to information related to weather, farming techniques, and market dynamics. Female farmers may lack access to this information through traditional channels due to lower levels of literacy, lower participation in markets, and weaker business networks. When utilizing ICTs to spread information, it is important to consider different levels of access to ICTs among women and men and thus develop solutions, such as group viewing, that promote equitable knowledge transfer.
      • Tailor farming input products and packages to the diverse needs of different customers. For example, women might prefer smaller fertilizer or animal feed packages if they have smaller herds or plots of land, less access to bulk capital, or prefer to make multiple purchases over time. Stocking packages for incremental purchasers can enable a company to access a new customer segment and increase sales among female farmers. In addition, as women often grow different crops and raise different livestock than men, offering products lines for traditionally female-dominated value chains opens access to a new customer segment.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Embed and facilitate women’s leadership in new agribusinesses and commodity groups, ensuring women (the traditional custodians of many commodities) remain central as products become increasingly commercialized and valued.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Institutionalizing gender equity

      Institutionalize commitments to ensure gender integration efforts are successful across the company:

      • Ensure minimum national and international environmental and social (E&S) standards for women are met – such as access to unions, grievance mechanisms, payment of minimum wages, maternity leave, provision of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical facilities, and stringent sexual harassment policies.
      • Secure buy-in from senior leadership by ensuring all plans and operations harmonize with national policies and frameworks around agriculture and around gender.
      • Establish corporate-level commitment to gender equity, and clearly communicate this to managers and staff.
      • Have a company plan for gender diversity, including targets and measurement systems.
      • Report externally on company plan for gender diversity and targets, then report out on progress towards those targets (e.g. through an annual report).
      • Collect disaggregated HR data on recruitment, hiring, pay, promotion, and retention by gender (and other categories such as race and ethnicity).
      • Review and revise all HR policies to contain gender-inclusive language and ensure gender equality.
      • Assess and revise internal and external communications to contain gender neutral and or gender equitable language and photos.
      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work or leave).
       

      Risk mitigation for large operations

      Mitigate risks related to gender inequities at the start of the project, and institute safeguards and mechanisms to protect women’s and men’s wellbeing throughout implementation:

      • Conduct a gender risk assessment in the planning and development phase to understand how the project may impact women’s safety (both as workers and as community members) throughout the project lifecycle. [See COMMUNITY tab]
      • Develop and implement measures to prevent and respond to potential risks identified during the gender risk assessment.
      • Require all employees and contractors to sign code of conduct detailing expectations and relevant policies in place to prevent and respond to potential risks identified.
      • In cases of resettlement, issue joint land titles to both women and men with a claim to land ownership to ensure that underrepresented rights-holder groups, including women, are not excluded from the land-title registration process.
      • Ensure women’s equal representation in business continuity planning and response to uncommon events and disruptions (e.g., disease outbreaks, civil disturbances, or natural disasters).
      • Use data to track impact of uncommon events or disruptions (e.g., disease outbreaks, civil disturbances, or natural disasters) on employees of different identities (such as gender, race, nationality, and ethnicity).
       

      Recruitment & hiring

      Implement equitable recruitment and hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from job descriptions and listings. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job (e.g., for physically demanding roles, describe specific tasks like climbing a ladder rather than encouraging the “physically fit” to apply).
      • Expand sourcing networks to attract a more diverse talent pool particularly in fields and functions that are traditionally male-dominated. Look at diversity-oriented job groups, and partner with diversity organizations or diversity-oriented groups at universities to offer internships to high potential female candidates.
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Engage women in non-traditional jobs to fill roles at a low cost and contribute to improvements in gender equity. This not only opens up a wider talent pool, but also can contribute to enhanced employee satisfaction and retention.
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job.
      • Prohibit inquiring about the status or plans of the following in job applications or during interview processes: marriage, pregnancy, or care responsibilities.
      • Analyze and revise existing internship / apprenticeship programs to set balanced participation from males and females as an expectation. If new programs are developed, design the program with gender-inclusive processes.
       

      Professional development & skill building

      Develop, motivate, and retain organizational talent with equitable opportunities to build skills and advance:

      • Create skill-building opportunities to convert local women and men in temporary roles (e.g., manual work or other casual labor) to ongoing, permanent roles at the farm/production site.
      • Train local women and men to engage constructively in the operations and management of the project or buiness, laying the foundations for greater community ownership of farming companies in the future.
      • Provide ongoing training and field-based mentorship opportunities to build technical skills and enhance access to resources and networks. Ensure professional development and career advancement opportunities meet the needs of, and are accessible to and used by both men and women.
      • Upskill female workers and propel them to higher level positions. Invest in training and extension services tailored for women to improve their yields and upgrade their skills for more technical and senior roles in the sector. Ensure training content covers both hard/technical skills and soft skills needed. Specific skills could range from irrigation and cultivation techniques, to farm management and business administration in anticipation of leadership roles.
      • Tailor training content and delivery style to female employees to increase effectiveness of knowledge/skills transfer related to farming practices. Consider: timing, location, language of instruction, video versus written content (e.g., video trainings may help female employees to overcome mobility, time, and literacy constraints), provision of transportation and childcare, and use of female trainers/extension workers (including in training videos).
      • Upskill female workers (as above) and propel them into non-traditional roles for women in the local market context (e.g., as agronomists, machine technicians, tractor drivers, etc.). Greater representation and visibility of women in technical and senior roles can have a role model effect for younger women interested in agricultural careers, and lead to norm change in the sector.
      • Involve women’s participation and leadership in farming associations/unions. Engaging women in these roles can enable them to voice their concerns and participate in high-level decision making and resource allocation.
       

      Facilitate ongoing support and networking opportunities among female employees:

      • Pair new hires with a sponsor to advocate for their interest and make their accomplishments visible to higher-level staff.
      • Implement a mentorship program, assessing young workers’ needs and matching them with relevant male or female mentors. Sensitize both mentors and mentees on the purpose and appropriate dynamics of the relationship, and create incentives for participation.
      • Create conversation / connection opportunities with female role models. Highlighting successful women in leadership positions can attract female applicants and encourage current employees to take on leadership roles.
       

      Employee evaluation & promotion

      • Assess employee performance based on standard decisive factors and metrics that are consistent across other employees in similar job functions. Ensure managers maintain a regular (i.e., monthly or bi-monthly) performance log for each direct-report.
      • Use a uniform evaluation cycle. Conducting performance reviews of all employees simultaneously helps supervisors dedicate ample time to write good evaluations and ensure consistency among all employees.
      • Ensure managers are given adequate time to do their evaluations, as the more rushed people are, the more they rely on stereotypes.
      • Establish and implement inclusive, gender-equitable succession plans (ensuring succession plans including gender-neutral selection criteria and plans to develop candidates).
       

      Pay equity

      Eliminate pay gaps between positions of comparable levels:

      • Do not ask for previous salary history or have applicants name a salary when hiring.
      • Create narrow pay bands, as women are less likely to negotiate the first offer.
      • If possible, implement pay equity processes grounded in statistical analysis with annual reviews, including bonuses or commissions. Control for observable factors such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
      • Provide managers with pay data for the organization, benchmarks for their male and female supervisees, and if applicable, market information on employment in the sector.
      • Inform employees of low, median, and high pay ranges for particular roles.
      • Implement formal remediation protocols to ensure pay equity processes are implemented appropriately and that manager discretion doesn’t promote inequality.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female employees, assisting women to establish their own accounts if necessary. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and potentially increases employee satisfaction and retention.
       

      Flexible work & care

      • Support access to child and dependent care, e.g., provide on-site childcare, reserve reduced-rate spaces in local childcare centers, and/or offer subsidies or vouchers to preferred child and elder care providers. Care support enables female farmers and producers to consistently attend and concentrate on work.
      • When possible, offer flexible work opportunities to accommodate work-life demands of men and women. Options will vary based on the demands of the position and could include: flexible start times, a compressed work week, and/or telecommuting or working from home for off-farm jobs.
      • Measure and track proportion of employees who are and are not using flexible work options, and disaggregate by gender.
      • Encourage managers to make use of benefits to demonstrate their acceptance to their teams (such as flexible work, parental leave, family and medical leave, and paid-time off).
       

      Health & safety considerations

      Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:

      • Provide health care benefits (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid maternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid paternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Establish return-to-work policies, providing a transition back to full-time work for parents returning from leave. Ensure employees return to the same or an equivalent job with no substantial change in contractual or other relevant terms.
      • Provide an option for a phased return to work after parental leave.
      • Support new mothers’ return to work by providing a private rest area for breastfeeding/pumping. A lactation room is one of several strategies that can better enable women to consistently attend work after having a baby.
      • Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Conduct equity and impact analysis of benefits, including usage and uptake of benefits disaggregated by gender.
      • Provide options for insurance packages that cover the specific health needs of women (e.g., gynecology, maternal health, reproductive health, cancer screens, domestic violence treatment).
       

      If farm/production site is in remote or rural location, ensure employees have access to quality healthcare services and clinics:

      • Coordinate onsite mobile clinics for screens for employees, with health providers that are trained on women’s health issues and needs.
      • Establish linkages with local health clinics and service providers for referral purposes, including ones that cover specific needs of women, including reproductive and maternal health.
       

      Ensure farm/production site grounds are safe for all employees:

      • Provide adequate and safe toilet facilities for women that accommodate hygiene needs, such as clean water and soap and disposal methods for feminine hygiene products.
      • If providing accommodation for workers, ensure safe, separate housing options with adequate facilities for women and men.
       

      Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (if applicable):

      • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for men and women, accounting for female sizing where needed, and especially taking into consideration the needs of pregnant and nursing women. Ensure employees have access to sex segregated changing areas.
       

      Accommodate pregnant workers’ health and safety needs:

      • In cases where a job may potentially be harmful or physically challenging for pregnant women, allow temporary job reassignment at full pay and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon returning to previous role.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where workers are safe and productive:

      • Develop a strong sexual harassment policy and make employees aware of it. This can include a definition of sexual harassment, and a statement about the company’s commitment to providing a “zero-tolerance” workplace free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It should detail consequences for violators of the policy, potentially including termination and/or referral to law enforcement if appropriate, referencing any legislation on gender-based violence and/or workplace harassment.
      • Research and include in the policy a local referral pathway for survivors of violence. The policy should provide direction on how to lodge sexual harassment complaints and identify which services are available for victims through the workplace and in the community. In addition, the policy should stipulate that complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and discretion.
      • Include a whistleblower policy to reduce fear of retaliation, and raise awareness on how workers can use it to anonymously report instances of GBV and sexual harassment on the work site or in the community. It should state that preventing and addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of all employees. It also should clarify protections and support for bystander employees who report incidents, as well as the process for action and follow up.
      • Socialize the policy with all levels of workers and contractors, providing annual refresher training to permanent employees on zero-tolerance for all forms of violence (including engaging in sex-based harassment or acts of sexual exploitation of women and girls while on business travel). Ensure information is widely disseminated in native language(s) using images or audio/video explanations where literacy levels are low.
      • Train all new workers and employees on what constitutes and causes different manifestations of GBV, including sex-based harassment and sexual exploitation. Include bystander training, which instills strategies and skills in coworkers to intervene and deter GBV and harassment.
      • Implement a confidential grievance mechanism for victims of GBV/harassment that involves third party reporting systems and transparent consequences. If promoting a hotline, provide employees with phone access or small denominations of mobile “airtime” where needed.
      • Train resource personnel who can help handle the process. Form a confidential committee with “diagonal” representation (not just senior HR) to improve accountability in investigating and responding to GBV and harassment reports.
      • To encourage others to use the grievance mechanism, regularly inform employees about resolved cases and any disciplinary action taken, omitting identifying details to preserve confidentiality.
       

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence in the community:

      • Consider female employees’ safety when traveling to and from work sites, especially if in remote locations. For example, have female and male colleagues travel together if/when needed. If safety on public transportation is a risk for women, consider providing designated employer shuttles or other safe modes of transportation (e.g., car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring women are consulted on the decision.
       

      Other

      • Focus on agricultural value chains that have historically been female-dominated (such as quinoa in Latin America or shea butter in West Africa) to capitalize on women as a committed supplier base and increase impacts on female farmers/employees. In almost every culture women have been the primary custodians of certain crops and animals. Investment in companies that equitably commercialize these value chains may enable greater participation of women in production, processing, and leadership roles.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement Practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilities or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for female farmers and women-led and/or gender-equitable cooperative. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/advertisements about the opportunity.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms or cooperatives that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart suppliers. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying a modest premium for products sourced from equitable producer groups.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Remove bias from role descriptions or messaging about the opportunity. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed in the role.
      • Advertise the opportunity through channels that women can also access, determined by context (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local women’s group meetings).
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues, or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Financing

      Enhance women’s access to financing to purchase agricultural inputs or equipment/machinery for planting. Women may lack access to collateral needed for traditional financing, therefore provision of innovative financing mechanisms can increase access to needed inputs and ultimately increase yields. To increase access to finance, companies can:

      • Organize women borrowers into groups or networks and facilitate village savings and loans (VSL) schemes.
      • Train women borrowers on financial management.
      • Support or establish cooperatives with a minimum threshold of women in leadership.
      • Partner with micro-finance institutions and/or provide loans, crop insurance, and other essential financial products.
      • When working with financial institutions, provide financial support to reduce risk and conduct education/ advocacy to increase ability and willingness to lend to women farmers.
      • Create flexible terms, such as low interest rates and small repayment amounts.
      • Utilize mobile banking and mobile money transactions to eliminate the need for farmers / contractors to have a bank account or travel long distances to pay for agricultural inputs or implements.
      • Train women borrowers on financial management.
      • Promote affordable mobile-based savings products for individuals.
      • Provide insurance to female farmers to overcome risk aversion and financial and environmental shocks. Female farmers may lack confidence to have buffer capital or access to resources to protect them from adverse events. Affordable insurance can ensure women’s financial resilience after shocks as well as their increase willingness to plant unfamiliar crops.
       

      Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas to promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • Conduct an assessment of the local economy and create opportunities to for women and women-led firms to fill casual labor vacancies and other temporary tenders in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • If selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Eliminate differential valuation of labor by offering consistent daily rates for casual labor in functions where women and men concentrate respectively.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female farmers or contractors. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and may increase their satisfaction and participation in the supply chain.
      • Provide training to female farmers or contractors to increase reach and effectiveness of knowledge and skills transfer related to sales of farming inputs and farming practices.
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
      • Register farmers as individuals rather than households to increase female farmers’ access to information, services, and earnings. Support services are often provided to the registered farmer and in the case of a registered household, services typically go to the male head of household and often do not get passed on to female farmers.
       

      Operations

      • Utilize innovative information and communication technology (ICT) services in a gender-sensitive way to increase female farmers’ access to information related to weather, farming techniques, and market dynamics. Female farmers may lack access to this information through traditional channels due to lower levels of literacy, lower participation in markets, and weaker business networks. When utilizing ICTs to spread information, it is important to consider different levels of access to ICTs among women and men and thus develop solutions, such as group viewing, that promote equitable knowledge transfer.
      • Involve women’s participation and leadership in farming cooperatives and associations. Women may not meet land or collateral requirements to participate or serve in leadership roles in farming cooperatives or associations, however engaging them in these roles can enable them to participate in high-level decision making and resource allocation.
      • Promote land documentation in women’s names. For cultural reasons, women’s names are often not on land titles, even when the law provides for women’s independent and joint ownership. When land titles are in women’s names it increases their protections and ownership rights, as well as sense of responsibility for land management and productivity. Gender equitable land documentation can also enhance supply chain continuity as women are empowered to continue farming on the land in cases of widowhood, divorce, or abandonment.
      • Focus on agricultural value chains that have historically been female-dominated (such as quinoa in Latin America or shea butter in West Africa) to capitalize on women as a committed supplier base and increase impacts on female farmers/employees. In almost every culture women have been the primary custodians of certain crops and animals. Investment in companies that equitably commercialize these value chains may enable greater participation of women in production, processing, and leadership roles.
      • Engage women in production of crops with high market potential. While women are often traditionally engaged in farming subsistence crops and men engaged in cash crops, specifically training women in production of crops with greater market and economic potential can increase earnings for female farmers and give the company access to a wider supplier base.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Community Consultation

      For projects or business operations that require the purchase or rental of land, consult with the local community:

      • Consult with community members (particularly women) to pinpoint concerns that could disproportionately affect women, e.g., related to land acquisition, resettlement, compensation, health, safety, and use of natural resources. Ensure land acquisition and compensation consultation activities include representation from a cross-section of the community: women and men of different socio-economic levels, castes, religions, ethnic groups, ages, literacy levels, marital statuses, refugee or migrant statuses, and abilities.
      • Establish a confidential grievance/feedback mechanism so community members can express satisfaction, concerns, questions, or complaints about land aquisition, rental, and resettlement activities. Ensure grievance mechanisms are accessible and understandable for community members of various languages and literacy levels.
      • For activities that result in economic or physical displacement of land users, develop livelihood restoration or resettlement action plans, ensuring plans incorporate gender-specific considerations. Seek perspectives of a cross-section of the community when developing plans: women and men of different socio-economic levels, castes, religions, ethnic groups, ages, literacy levels, marital statuses, refugee or migrant statuses, and abilities. Ensure planning teams also have gender equitable representation.
      • In cases of resettlement, issue joint land titles to both women and men with a claim to land ownership to ensure that underrepresented rights-holder groups, including women, are not excluded from the land-title registration process.
      • Consider a shareholding structure that gradually enables greater local ownership of the land and operations.
      • Include and consider women’s views in biodiversity and ecosystem service assessments.
       

      Bolt-on Outreach Activities

      Incorporate livelihoods and community development initiatives to contribute to local resilience and capcity:

      • Identify job opportunities for local community members (male and female) either directly at farm/production site, or in indirect sectors. Involving local women and men to engage constructively in the operations and management of the project or business lays the foundations for greater community ownership of project farming companies in the future, while enhancing reputation and trust.
      • Provide training and agricultural resources for the broader community. Standing out as a supporter of community development enhances external reputation and trust with smallholders and helps generate brand recognition and loyalty.
      • Adhere to ethical or fair trade practices and certifications which can benefit community well-being and enhance access to a different customer base.
      • Provide access to equipment that can be communally used or rented by individuals for enhancing productivity of farming or processing.
      • Address norms and structural barriers that complicate women’s access to finance, irrigation, farm implements, and other assets in the first place. Considering how laws and practices may discriminate against women and girls, agriculture projects can partner with land rights organizations to support documentation of property and immovable assets jointly or in women’s names; legal reforms and customary protection mechanisms to ensure widowed women and girls are protected from disenfranchisement and land grabbing; as well as marriage formalization and will writing as strategies to increase women’s ownership of collateral. Titling land in women’s names increases women’s protections and ownership rights, as well as sense of responsibility for land management and productivity.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Embed and facilitate women’s leadership in new agribusinesses and commodity groups, ensuring women (the traditional custodians of many commodities) remain central as products become increasingly commercialized and valued.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Institutionalizing gender equity

      Institutionalize commitments to ensure gender integration efforts are successful across the company:

      • Ensure minimum national and international environmental and social (E&S) standards for women are met – such as access to unions, grievance mechanisms, payment of minimum wages, maternity leave, provision of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical facilities, and stringent sexual harassment policies.
      • Secure buy-in from senior leadership by ensuring all plans and operations harmonize with national policies and frameworks around agriculture and around gender.
      • Establish corporate-level commitment to gender equity, and clearly communicate this to managers and staff.
      • Have a company plan for gender diversity, including targets and measurement systems.
      • Report externally on company plan for gender diversity and targets, then report out on progress towards those targets (e.g. through an annual report).
      • Collect disaggregated HR data on recruitment, hiring, pay, promotion, and retention by gender (and other categories such as race and ethnicity).
      • Review and revise all HR policies to contain gender-inclusive language and ensure gender equality.
      • Assess and revise internal and external communications to contain gender neutral and or gender equitable language and photos.
      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work or leave).
       

      Recruitment & hiring

      Implement equitable recruitment and hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from job descriptions and listings. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job (e.g., for physically demanding roles, describe specific tasks like climbing a ladder rather than encouraging the “physically fit” to apply).
      • Expand sourcing networks to attract a more diverse talent pool particularly in fields and functions that are traditionally male-dominated. Look at diversity-oriented job groups, and partner with diversity organizations or diversity-oriented groups at universities to offer internships to high potential female candidates.
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Engage women in non-traditional jobs to fill roles at a low cost and contribute to improvements in gender equity (e.g., in transportation). This not only opens up a wider talent pool, but also can contribute to enhanced employee satisfaction and retention.
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job.
      • Screen for qualities that may be important for distribution / the position as opposed to education and job history to avoid excluding talented candidates. Socio-cultural norms and lower education levels may have precluded women from typical precursor jobs.
      • Prohibit inquiring about the status or plans of the following in job applications or during interview processes: marriage, pregnancy, or care responsibilities.
      • Analyze and revise existing internship/apprenticeship programs to set balanced participation from male and female interns as an expectation. If new programs are developed, design the program with gender-inclusive processes.
       

      Professional development & skill building

      Develop, motivate, and retain organizational talent with equitable opportunities to build skills and advance:

      • Create skill-building opportunities to convert local women and men in temporary roles (e.g., manual work or other casual labor) to ongoing, permanent roles at the storage/aggregation/processing site.
      • Train local women and men to engage constructively in the operations and management of the project or buiness, laying the foundations for greater community ownership of farming companies in the future.
      • Provide ongoing training and field-based mentorship opportunities to build technical skills and enhance access to resources and networks. Ensure professional development and career advancement opportunities meet the needs of, and are accessible to and used by both men and women.
      • Upskill female workers and propel them to higher level positions. Invest in training and extension services tailored for women to upgrade their skills for more technical and senior roles in the sector. Ensure training content covers both hard/technical skills and soft skills needed. Specific skills could range from processing and aggregation techniques, to management and business administration in anticipation of leadership roles.
      • Tailor training content and delivery style to female employees to increase effectiveness of knowledge/skills transfer related to farming practices. Consider: timing, location, language of instruction, video versus written content (e.g., video trainings may help female employees to overcome mobility, time, and literacy constraints), provision of transportation and childcare, and use of female trainers/extension workers (including in training videos).
      • Upskill female workers (as above) and propel them into non-traditional roles for women in the local market context (e.g., as machine technicians or drivers). Greater representation and visibility of women in technical and senior roles can have a role model effect for younger women interested in agricultural careers, and lead to norm change in the sector.
       

      Employee evaluation & promotion

      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work and leave).
      • Assess employee performance based on standard decisive factors and metrics that are consistent across other employees in similar job functions.Ensure managers maintain a regular (i.e. monthly or bi-monthly) performance log for each direct-report.
      • Use a uniform evaluation cycle. Conducting performance reviews of all employees simultaneously helps supervisors dedicate ample time to write good evaluations and ensure consistency among all employees.
      • Ensure managers are given adequate time to do their evaluations, as the more rushed people are, the more they rely on stereotypes.
      • Establish and implement inclusive, gender-equitable succession plans (ensuring succession plans including gender-neutral selection criteria and plans to develop candidates).
       

      Pay equity

      Eliminate pay gaps between positions of comparable levels:

      • Do not ask for previous salary history or have applicants name a salary when hiring.
      • Create narrow pay bands, as women are less likely to negotiate the first offer.
      • If possible, implement pay equity processes grounded in statistical analysis with annual reviews, including bonuses or commissions. Control for observable factors such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
      • Provide managers with pay data for the organization, benchmarks for their male and female supervisees, and if applicable, market information on employment in the sector.
      • Inform employees of low, median, and high pay ranges for particular roles.
      • Implement formal remediation protocols to ensure pay equity processes are implemented appropriately and that manager discretion doesn’t promote inequality.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female employees, assisting women to establish their own accounts if necessary. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and potentially increases employee satisfaction and retention.
       

      Flexible work & care

      • Support access to child and dependent care, such as provide on-site childcare, reserve reduced-rate spaces in local childcare centers, and/or offer subsidies or vouchers to preferred child and elder care providers. Care support enables female farmers and producers to consistently attend and concentrate on work.
      • Offer flexible work opportunities to accommodate work-life demands of men and women. Options will vary based on the demands of the position and could include: flexible start times, compressed work week, and/or telecommuting or working from home.
      • Measure and track proportion of employees who are and are not using flexible work options, and disaggregate by gender.
      • Encourage managers to make use of benefits to demonstrate their acceptance to their teams (such as flexible work, parental leave, family and medical leave, and paid-time off).
       

      Offer flexible work arrangements for pregnant women and mothers who travel for work:

      • In cases where a job may potentially be harmful or physically challenging for pregnant women, allow a modified schedule or temporary job reassignment at full pay, and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon returning to previous role.
      • Particularly for mothers, provide flexibility in travel requirements and distribution activities.
      • Consider allowing staff to travel with their children and children’s caregivers to enable female employees to balance work and care responsibilities.
       

      Health & safety considerations

      Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:

      • Provide health care benefits (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid maternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid paternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Establish return-to-work policies, providing a transition back to full-time work for parents returning from leave. Ensure employees return to the same or an equivalent job with no substantial change in contractual or other relevant terms.
      • Provide an option for a phased return to work after parental leave.
      • Support new mothers’ return to work by providing a private rest area for breastfeeding/pumping. A lactation room is one of several strategies that can better enable women to consistently attend work after having a baby.
      • Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Conduct equity and impact analysis of benefits, including usage and uptake of benefits disaggregated by gender.
      • Provide options for insurance packages that cover the specific health needs of women (e.g., gynecology, maternal health, reproductive health, cancer screens, domestic violence treatment).
       

      Ensure storage/aggregation/processing site grounds are safe for all employees:

      • Provide adequate and safe toilet facilities for women that accommodate hygiene needs, such as clean water and soap and disposal methods for feminine hygiene products.
      • Regularly check grounds to ensure they are adequately lit and secure.
       

      Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (if applicable):

      • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for men and women, accounting for female sizing where needed, and especially taking into consideration the needs of pregnant and nursing women, e.g. around harsh agro-chemicals. Ensure employees have access to sex segregated changing areas.
       

      Consider safety and transportation needs for work-related travel:

      • Consider safety needs of female employees engaged in transportation or traveling to distribute products. For example, have female and male colleagues travel together if/when needed.
      • Provide transportation and distribution staff with appropriate and safe modes of transportation (e.g., bus, car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring women are consulted on the decision.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where workers are safe and productive:

      • Develop a strong sexual harassment policy and make employees aware of it. This can include a definition of sexual harassment, and a statement about the company’s commitment to providing a “zero-tolerance” workplace free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It should detail consequences for violators of the policy, potentially including termination and/or referral to law enforcement if appropriate, referencing any legislation on gender-based violence and/or workplace harassment.
      • Research and include in the policy a local referral pathway for survivors of violence. The policy should provide direction on how to lodge sexual harassment complaints and identify which services are available for victims through the workplace and in the community. In addition, the policy should stipulate that complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and discretion.
      • Include a whistleblower policy to reduce fear of retaliation, and raise awareness on how workers can use it to anonymously report instances of GBV and sexual harassment on the work site or in the community. It should state that preventing and addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of all employees. It also should clarify protections and support for bystander employees who report incidents, as well as the process for action and follow up.
      • Socialize the policy with all levels of workers and contractors, providing annual refresher training to permanent employees on zero-tolerance for all forms of violence (including engaging in sex-based harassment or acts of sexual exploitation of women and girls while on business travel). Ensure information is widely disseminated in native language(s) using images or audio/video explanations where literacy levels are low.
      • Train all new workers and employees on what constitutes and causes different manifestations of GBV, including sex-based harassment and sexual exploitation. Include bystander training, which instills strategies and skills in coworkers to intervene and deter GBV and harassment.
      • Implement a confidential grievance mechanism for victims of GBV/harassment that involves third party reporting systems and transparent consequences. If promoting a hotline, provide employees with phone access or small denominations of mobile “airtime” where needed.
      • Train resource personnel who can help handle the process. Form a confidential committee with “diagonal” representation (not just senior HR) to improve accountability in investigating and responding to GBV and harassment reports.
      • To encourage others to use the grievance mechanism, regularly inform employees about resolved cases and any disciplinary action taken, omitting identifying details to preserve confidentiality.
       

      Other

      • Focus on agricultural value chains that have historically been female-dominated (such as quinoa in Latin America or shea butter in West Africa) to capitalize on women as a committed supplier base and increase impacts on female farmers/employees. In almost every culture women have been the primary custodians of certain crops and animals. Investment in companies that equitably commercialize these value chains may enable greater participation of women in production, processing, and leadership roles.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Procurement practices

      As part of the company’s supplier diversity program or code of practice, create gender-inclusive procurement policies:

      • If directly or indirectly spending government funds, comply with or exceed the mandated minimum percentage of public procurement spending on women and other protected classes such as persons with disabilities or members of indigenous groups. Beyond compliance incentives, there are economic and risk-mitigation benefits to be reaped by companies that diversify their supplier base.
      • If affirmative action is allowed or required, leverage supplier diversity according to legal requirements. Set a target level of procurement spending (percentage of value, not number of contracts) in all business units and categories of spend that are earmarked for female farmers and women-led and/or gender-equitable cooperatives. Include this standard clause in requests for proposals/advertisements about the opportunity.
      • Establish a uniform reporting mechanism to track spending for all minority-owned supplier categories.
      • Consider giving preference to firms or cooperatives that perform better on key GENDER METRICS such as gender balance in governance, leadership or workforce; disclosing gender pay equity; offering flexible work and care; meeting women’s health and safety needs; and addressing GBV and harassment.
      • Create a pre-qualification scheme that accredits “gender-smart” suppliers. Using a gender diagnostic like the ICRW sector-specific scoring tools, reward good scores in these areas by accrediting and contracting with high-performers. Offset the benefits of compliance and risk mitigation with extended accreditation periods to gender-smart suppliers. Depending on volumes and other terms of contract, consider paying a modest premium for products sourced from equitable producer groups.
      • Develop and maintain a database of local, regional, and national businesses that are accredited for reaching a score threshold. Ensure the database is updated regularly.
      • Remove bias from role descriptions or messaging about the opportunity. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties that are essential to the tender/role.
      • Advertise the opportunity through channels that women can also access, determined by context (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local women’s group meetings).
      • Reduce bias in procurement by providing applicants with uniform information about the opportunity, asking potential suppliers the same questions, and limiting the extent of negotiation permitted in contracting. Assumptions that women can bargain in the marketplace as freely as men, and biased valuation of men’s work above women’s, inherently underlie market rates and reproduce gender inequality in market pay rates.
      • Reduce the size of tenders. Whether measured by employment, revenues or asset base, women-led businesses tend to be smaller, and therefore may struggle to meet high contract volumes or neglect to apply if terms seem too large, fast, or complex.
      • Identify qualities needed in women who can be potential distributors of seeds, livestock medications, or other agricultural products on commmission. Engage women with wide social networks at the grassroots level to ensure a broad supplier base accesses the inputs they need to produce at scale.
      • Strive for gender balance on the internal team of procurement professionals. More women employees sourcing can lead to greater gender equity in procurement deals.
       

      Financing

      Enhance women’s access to financing to purchase agricultural inputs or equipment/machinery for processing. Women may lack access to collateral needed for traditional financing, therefore provision of innovative financing mechanisms can increase access to needed inputs, increase yields, and reduce rates of post-harvest loss. To increase access to finance, companies can:

      • Organize women borrowers into groups or networks and facilitate village savings and loans (VSL) schemes.
      • Train women borrowers on financial management.
      • Support or establish cooperatives with a minimum threshold of women in leadership.
      • Partner with micro-finance institutions and/or provide loans, crop insurance, and other essential financial products.
      • When working with financial institutions, provide financial support to reduce risk and conduct education / advocacy to increase ability and willingness to lend to women farmers.
      • Create flexible terms, such as low interest rates and small repayment amounts.
      • Utilize mobile banking and mobile money transactions to eliminate the need for farmers / contractors to have a bank account or travel long distances to pay for agricultural inputs or implements.
      • Promote affordable mobile-based savings products for individuals.
      • Facilitate affordable access to storage and processing facilities for female famers / crops traditionally farmed by women which can reduce rates of post-harvest loss. For companies providing storage and/or processing (e.g. cold storage, elevated storage, milling, preserving), this can open up a new customer segment. Female suppliers often lack access to quality facilities and handle shorter-life crops than male farmers. Therefore, improving their access to sufficiently secure, hygienic storage and processing options can enable them to ultimately increase the volume of high quality produce eligible for sale.
      • Similarly, provide training to female outgrowers or contractors to increase knowledge and skills related to post-harvest practices, e.g., better storage and security.
       

      Promote women’s economic empowerment

      Analyze the supply chain to identify additional areas to promote women’s economic empowerment:

      • Conduct an assessment of the local economy and create opportunities to for women and women-led firms to fill casual labor vacancies and other temporary tenders in typical industries where women cluster such as SMEs related to food preparation, raw materials, access to energy, water collection, etc.
      • If selecting between a male and female contractor with comparable qualifications, or firms offering similar quality and price points, give preference to the woman or woman-led firm.
      • Facilitate female entrepreneurs’ access to working capital through structuring contracts to enable up-front payments, providing or linking to microfinance, and/or supporting group formation for village savings and loan associations (VSLAs).
      • Eliminate differential valuation of labor by offering consistent daily rates for casual labor in functions where women and men concentrate respectively.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female farmers or contractors. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and may increase their satisfaction and participation in the supply chain.
      • Enhance tendering capacity of women-owned SMEs through training and mentoring in proposal writing and record-keeping, and offering feedback after failed bids. Support training participants to source any missing documentation (business registration, referrals or track record of experience) and add them to the database of accredited suppliers.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Consider safety and transportation needs for work-related travel:

      • Consider safety needs of female agents engaged in transportation or traveling to distribute products. For example, have female and male agents travel together if/when needed.
      • Provide distribution agents with appropriate and safe modes of transportation (e.g., bus, car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring women are consulted on the decision.
       

      Operations

      • Utilize innovative information and communication technology (ICT) services in a gender-sensitive way to increase female farmers’ access to information related to weather, farming techniques, and market dynamics. Female farmers may lack access to this information through traditional channels due to lower levels of literacy, lower participation in markets, and weaker business networks. When utilizing ICTs to spread information, it is important to consider different levels of access to ICTs among women and men and thus develop solutions, such as group viewing, that promote equitable knowledge transfer.
      • Establish centralized collection centers alongside farmers groups in rural communities. These can become hubs for information, demonstrations, agro-dealership, and aggregation of farmers’ products. Localizing sales points allows agribusinesses to streamline distribution and collection logistics to secure high volumes. By doing so, companies earn trust in the community and access a wider supplier base, while enabling farmers –especially women– to mitigate transaction and safety risks, reduce transportation costs, and overcome mobility constraints.
      • Focus on agricultural value chains that have historically been female-dominated (such as quinoa in Latin America or shea butter in West Africa) to capitalize on women as a committed supplier base and increase impacts on female farmers/employees. In almost every culture women have been the primary custodians of certain crops and animals. Investment in companies that equitably commercialize these value chains may enable greater participation of women in production, processing, and leadership roles.
      • Engage women in production of crops with high market potential. While women are often traditionally engaged in farming subsistence crops and men engaged in cash crops, specifically training women in production of crops with greater market and economic potential can increase earnings for female farmers and give the company access to a wider supplier base.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Community Consultation

      For projects or business operations that require the purchase or rental of land, consult with the local community:

      • Consult with community members (particularly women) to pinpoint concerns that could disproportionately affect women, e.g., related to land acquisition, resettlement, compensation, health, safety, and use of natural resources. Ensure land acquisition and compensation consultation activities include representation from a cross-section of the community: women and men of different socio-economic levels, castes, religions, ethnic groups, ages, literacy levels, marital statuses, refugee or migrant statuses, and abilities.
      • Establish a confidential grievance/feedback mechanism so community members can express satisfaction, concerns, questions, or complaints about land aquisition, rental, and resettlement activities. Ensure grievance mechanisms are accessible and understandable for community members of various languages and literacy levels.
      • For activities that result in economic or physical displacement of land users, develop livelihood restoration or resettlement action plans, ensuring plans incorporate gender-specific considerations. Seek perspectives of a cross-section of the community when developing plans: women and men of different socio-economic levels, castes, religions, ethnic groups, ages, literacy levels, marital statuses, refugee or migrant statuses, and abilities. Ensure planning teams also have gender equitable representation.
      • In cases of resettlement, issue joint land titles to both women and men with a claim to land ownership to ensure that underrepresented rights-holder groups, including women, are not excluded from the land-title registration process.
      • Consider a shareholding structure that gradually enables greater local ownership of the land and operations.
       

      Bolt-on Outreach Activities

      Incorporate livelihoods and community development initiatives to contribute to local resilience and capcity:

      • Identify job opportunities for local community members (male and female) either directly at the facility or in indirect sectors. Involving local women and men to engage constructively in the operations and management of the project or business lays the foundations for greater community ownership of project farming companies in the future, while enhancing reputation and trust.
      • Adhere to ethical or Fairtrade practices and certifications which can benefit community well-being and enhance access to a different customer base.
      • Provide access to equipment that can be communally used or rented by individuals for enhancing productivity of farming or processing.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Company board

      • Support and maintain diversity on the board of directors prioritizing a minimum of 2-3 female directors to avoid the perverse effect of apparent “tokenism”.
      • Embed and facilitate women’s leadership in new agribusinesses and commodity groups, ensuring women (the traditional custodians of many commodities) remain central as products become increasingly commercialized and valued.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Institutionalizing gender equity

      Institutionalize commitments to ensure gender integration efforts are successful across the company:

      • Ensure minimum national and international environmental and social (E&S) standards for women are met – such as access to unions, grievance mechanisms, payment of minimum wages, maternity leave, provision of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical facilities, and stringent sexual harassment policies.
      • Establish corporate-level commitment to gender equity, and clearly communicate this to managers and staff.
      • Have a company plan for gender diversity, including targets and measurement systems.
      • Report externally on company plan for gender diversity and targets, then report out on progress towards those targets (e.g. through an annual report).
      • Collect disaggregated HR data on recruitment, hiring, pay, promotion, and retention by gender (and other categories such as race and ethnicity).
      • Review and revise all HR policies to contain gender-inclusive language and ensure gender equality.
      • Assess and revise internal and external communications to contain gender neutral and or gender equitable language and photos.
      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work or leave).
       

      Recruitment & hiring

      Implement equitable recruitment and hiring processes that attract qualified women and enable them to secure positions:

      • Remove bias from job descriptions and listings. Wording can impact whether more women or men apply; research shows that “masculine” adjectives like superior, competitive, determined, and expert can deter female candidates. All qualifications should directly tie to duties performed on the job (e.g., for physically demanding roles, describe specific tasks like climbing a ladder rather than encouraging the “physically fit” to apply).
      • Develop outreach programs with educational institutions that lead to attraction of both male and female job candidates to build a robust pipeline of talent (e.g., through scholarships, university visits, apprenticeships).
      • Post job advertisements in a variety of media so that both men and women are equally likely to view the job posting (e.g., radio, signboards near markets, announcements in local community group meetings).
      • Consider conducting blind resume screening by removing names before review.
      • Define objective hiring criteria and get hiring teams on the same page ahead of time to prevent unspoken or subjective criteria from appearing late in the evaluation stages.
      • Design selection processes to reduce bias through behavior-based interviewing and diverse panels of interviewers.
      • Ask potential hires the same questions. Develop an interview script that is used for each candidate for a certain job.
      • Screen for qualities that may be important for sales / the position (e.g., motivation, ability to thrive in customer interactions) as opposed to education and job history to avoid excluding talented candidates. Socio-cultural norms and lower education levels may have precluded women from typical precursor jobs.
      • Prohibit inquiring about the status or plans of the following in job applications or during interview processes: marriage, pregnancy, or care responsibilities
      • Analyze and revise existing internship / apprenticeship programs to set balanced participation from males and females as an expectation. If new programs are developed, design the program with gender-inclusive processes.
      • Offer a trial period to test whether the role would be a good fit. This can reduce costs associated with training and retention as only those who are more qualified and committed receive continued support.
       

      Professional development & skill building

      Develop, motivate, and retain organizational talent with equitable opportunities to build skills and advance:

      • Provide ongoing training and mentorship opportunities to build skills related to sales and customer interaction, and enhance access to resources and networks. Ensure professional development and career advancement opportunities meet the needs of, and are accessible to and used by, both men and women.
      • Upskill female employees and propel them to higher-level positions. Invest in training tailored for women to upgrade their skills for more technical and senior roles in the sector. Ensure content covers both hard/technical skills and soft skills needed to excel, from quality control, sales techniques, and customer acquisition, to management and business administration in anticipation of leadership roles.
      • Tailor training content and delivery style to female employees to increase effectiveness of knowledge/skills transfer related to product sales. Consider: timing, location, language of instruction, video versus written content (e.g., video trainings may help female employees to overcome mobility, time, and literacy constraints), and provision of transportation and childcare.
       

      Employee evaluation & promotion

      • Train managers on gender equity, unconscious bias, counteracting bias in performance reviews, and how policies may be used differently by men and women (e.g., flexible work and leave).
      • Assess employee performance based on standard decisive factors and metrics that are consistent across other employees in similar job functions.Ensure managers maintain a regular (i.e. monthly or bi-monthly) performance log for each direct-report.
      • Use a uniform evaluation cycle. Conducting performance reviews of all employees simultaneously helps supervisors dedicate ample time to write good evaluations and ensure consistency among all employees.
      • Ensure managers are given adequate time to do their evaluations, as the more rushed people are, the more they rely on stereotypes.
      • Establish and implement inclusive, gender-equitable succession plans (ensuring succession plans including gender-neutral selection criteria and plans to develop candidates).
       

      Pay equity

      Eliminate pay gaps between positions of comparable levels:

      • Do not ask for previous salary history or have applicants name a salary when hiring.
      • Create narrow pay bands, as women are less likely to negotiate the first offer.
      • If possible, implement pay equity processes grounded in statistical analysis with annual reviews, including bonuses or commissions. Control for observable factors such as level of position, years of experience, and/or education.
      • Provide managers with pay data for the organization, benchmarks for their male and female supervisees, and if applicable, market information on employment in the sector.
      • Inform employees of low, median, and high pay ranges for particular roles.
      • Implement formal remediation protocols to ensure pay equity processes are implemented appropriately and that manager discretion doesn’t promote inequality.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female agents, assisting women to establish their own accounts if necessary. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and potentially increases employee satisfaction and retention.
       

      Flexible work & care

      • Support access to child and dependent care, e.g. provide on-site childcare, reserve reduced-rate spaces in local childcare centers, and/or offer subsidies or vouchers to preferred child and elder care providers.
      • Offer flexible work opportunities to accommodate work-life demands of men and women. Options will vary based on the demands of the position and could include: flexible start times, a compressed work week, and/or telecommuting or working from home.
      • Measure and track proportion of employees who are and are not using flexible work options, and disaggregate by gender.
      • Encourage managers to make use of benefits to demonstrate their acceptance to their teams (such as flexible work, parental leave, family and medical leave, and paid-time off).
       

      Offer flexible work arrangements for pregnant women and mothers who travel for work:

      • In cases where a job may potentially be harmful or physically challenging for pregnant women, allow a modified schedule or temporary job reassignment at full pay, and proactively communicate that there will be no penalty upon returning to previous role.
      • Particularly for mothers, provide flexibility in travel requirements and sales activities.
      • Consider allowing staff to travel with their children and children’s caregivers to enable female employees to balance work and care responsibilities.
       

      Health & safety considerations

      Support working parents/caregivers and general employee health in order to retain talent and ensure operational consistency across life transitions:

      • Provide health care benefits (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid maternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Have a paid paternity leave policy (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Establish return-to-work policies, providing a transition back to full-time work for parents returning from leave. Ensure employees return to the same or an equivalent job with no substantial change in contractual or other relevant terms.
      • Provide an option for a phased return to work after parental leave.
      • Support new mothers’ return to work by providing a private rest area for breastfeeding/pumping. A space for lactation enables new mothers to consistently attend work after having a baby.
      • Provide “family and medical leave” or comprehensive sick leave (ensure meets minimum requirement of government).
      • Conduct equity and impact analyses of benefits, including usage and uptake of benefits disaggregated by gender.
      • Provide options for insurance packages that cover the specific health needs of women (e.g., gynecology, maternal health, reproductive health, cancer screens, domestic violence treatment).
       

      Consider safety and transportation needs for work-related travel:

      • Consider safety needs of female agents traveling to sell products and interact with customers. For example, have female and male colleagues travel together if/when needed.
      • Provide sales agents with appropriate and safe modes of transportation (e.g., bus, car, motorbikes, bicycles) – ensuring women are consulted on the decision.
       

      Addressing gender-based violence & harassment

      Address sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work to foster a healthy climate where workers are safe and productive:

      • Develop a strong sexual harassment policy and make employees aware of it. This can include a definition of sexual harassment, and a statement about the company’s commitment to providing a “zero-tolerance” workplace free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and violence. It should detail consequences for violators of the policy, potentially including termination and/or referral to law enforcement if appropriate, referencing any legislation on gender-based violence and/or workplace harassment.
      • Research and include in the policy a local referral pathway for survivors of violence. The policy should provide direction on how to lodge sexual harassment complaints and identify which services are available for victims through the workplace and in the community. In addition, the policy should stipulate that complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and discretion.
      • Include a whistleblower policy to reduce fear of retaliation, and raise awareness on how workers can use it to anonymously report instances of GBV and sexual harassment on the work site or in the community. It should state that preventing and addressing sexual harassment is the responsibility of all employees. It also should clarify protections and support for bystander employees who report incidents, as well as the process for action and follow up.
      • Socialize the policy with all levels of workers and contractors, providing annual refresher training to permanent employees on zero-tolerance for all forms of violence (including engaging in sex-based harassment or acts of sexual exploitation of women and girls while on business travel). Ensure information is widely disseminated in native language(s) using images or audio/video explanations where literacy levels are low.
      • Train all new workers and employees on what constitutes and causes different manifestations of GBV, including sex-based harassment and sexual exploitation. Include bystander training, which instills strategies and skills in coworkers to intervene and deter GBV and harassment.
      • Implement a confidential grievance mechanism for victims of GBV/harassment that involves third party reporting systems and transparent consequences. If promoting a hotline, provide employees with phone access or small denominations of mobile “airtime” where needed.
      • Train resource personnel who can help handle the process. Form a confidential committee with “diagonal” representation (not just senior HR) to improve accountability in investigating and responding to GBV and harassment reports.
      • To encourage others to use the grievance mechanism, regularly inform employees about resolved cases and any disciplinary action taken, omitting identifying details to preserve confidentiality.
       
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

       

      Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

      If selling products in domestic markets, analyze the local supply chain to identify additional areas to promote women’s economic empowerment with products that are not for export:

      • Engage women as micro-entrepreneurs or sales agents (e.g., in selling door-to-door or in markets) to leverage women’s skills in communication and to capitalize on the purchasing power of other women in their networks. Engage female sales agents to market valuable by-products and end-products to local cooperatives, savings groups, last-mile markets, and other networks.
      • Provide direct payments into the bank accounts of female entrepreneurs. When payments are given to a household (in cash or transferred to the head of household’s account), men often have control over spending decisions. However, making payments directly to women enables them to make decisions around how the money they earn is spent and may increase their satisfaction and participation in the supply chain.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Know your [female] customer

      Understand various consumer needs in order to market effectively:

      • Tailor marketing messages to meet the needs of female (and male) consumers. Male and female customers may have different preferences and access to both markets requires an understanding of these different perspectives.
      • Where relevant, specifically market products to female customers to capitalize on women’s consumer spending power in agriculture and food products. For example, women may be more attracted to products that emphasize benefits for the family (e.g., especially nutritional needs associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childhood).
      • Ensure external commmunications materials and marketing messages appeal to both male and female customers. Research gender and social norms to understand how to best communicate to women and men consumers, and adapt in different contexts. Revise external communications and product marketing to contain gender neutral and/or gender equitable language and photos. Ensure customer depictions in advertising materials reflect the full range of customer diversity.
       

      Operations

      • Focus on agricultural value chains that have historically been female-dominated (such as quinoa in Latin America or shea butter in West Africa) to capitalize on women as a committed supplier base and increase impacts on female farmers/employees. In almost every culture women have been the primary custodians of certain crops and animals. Investment in companies that equitably commercialize these value chains may unlock greater participation of women in production, processing, and leadership roles. Promoting true community empowerment throughout the supply chain is also a strong message that can enhance brand equity.
      • If female farmers or women-led / gender-equitable cooperatives DO dominate the supply chain, leverage positive branding opportunities as “community empowering”. This can improve access to quality buyers and potentially attract market premiums associated with ethical supply chains and certifications like Fair Trade. Invest proceeds back into cooperatives as a benefit to women farmers.
    • Key

      • Opportunities that are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement
      • Opportunities with high-impact potential for the business
      • Opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment

      Bolt-on Outreach Activities

      Incorporate livelihoods and community development initiatives to contribute to local resilience and capcity:

      • Adhere to ethical or Fair Trade practices and certifications which can benefit community well-being and enhance access to quality customers in premium markets.
      • Funnel proceeds from “gender equitable” marketing schemes back into women’s needs in the community, funding social projects to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of female farmers and their families.

GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR PROFESSIONALS

Contact Us