The panel discussion on the ‘NAMA-UN Women’s Gender-Responsive Procurement Programme’ is on at the Expo.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA) director Reem Binkaram has encouraged both government and private individuals to source out their logistics and other supplies from women-owned businesses.
Doing so, she said, would help pivot the growth of gender-responsive procurement (GRP) programmes and boost more the entrepreneurial spirit globally, leading to overcoming socio-economic related-challenges.
Binkaram explained to Gulf Today the concept of GRP and what needs to be done recently. The interview was based on the “Gender-Responsive Procurement as a Transformative Strategy to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” panel discussion held at the Women’s Pavilion in Expo2020 Dubai, in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
UAE-based NAMA, which has been in coalition or alliance with the UN Women since 2018 for the “Stimulating Equal Opportunities” flagship programme, was founded in 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. It is tasked to provide an enabling environment for women to develop their potentials through the access to knowledge, services, support systems and resources.
On GRP, Binkaram said: “GRP is the concept that governments and businesses big and small can accelerate gender equality and women’s economic empowerment by sourcing from women’s enterprises and gender-responsive enterprises. The global procurement market is worth trillions of dollars and involves both large and small organisations, from governments to small companies, which engage with each other through the exchange of goods and services. In 2017, estimates reported that women-owned businesses received only one per cent of the corporate procurement spend.” According to Binkaram, that one per cent has put women entrepreneurs and businesswomen in a disadvantage: “Public and private sectors can use procurement to achieve great socio-economic change for women and girls on a global scale, by implementing more inclusive processes that endorse supplier diversity. To emphasise, buying from women-owned businesses of all fields contributes to their sustainability of their businesses; therefore, a positive impact is reflected on economies and societies.”
The panel discussion was connected with the fifth, eighth, and 12th UN Sustainable Development Goals. These are the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls; the promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, decent work and economic growth for all.
From the panel discussion that highlighted the successes of GRP practices particularly in the UAE and South Africa, Binkaram reaffirmed NAMA’s firm commitment for the continuous progress of women in economics and trade: “For many women, entrepreneurship offers a path to economic empowerment. We need firm commitments from all stakeholders to build partnerships, make our ambitions a reality and further enable women entrepreneurs.”
UN Women-Stimulating Equal Opportunities Programme manager Jade Cochran acknowledged the NAMA role in “empowering 20,000 women in South Africa and the UAE through their participation in the economy. NAMA’s support on the global level through policy advice, technical support and data, evidence and knowledge.” She reported that with NAMA, UN Women had enabled more than 340,000 women increase their participation in the economy and that 536 government companies and international organisations are being supported to implement GRP policies and practices.”
Meanwhile, in the Nov. 16, 2021 publication of the”2020/2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report: Thriving through Crisis” of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor that interviews entrepreneurs: “30.2 per cent of women entrepreneurs surveyed expected to hire six or more employees in the next five years compared to just 18.7 per cent in the 2019 report.”
From the NAMA-UN Women Session keynote address by UAE Ministry of Economy-Entrepreneurship and SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises) Assistant Undersecretary Faisal Al Hammadi: “A series of government-led initiatives, such as the National SME Programme-where one-third of members are female; and the recently launched Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, are enabling women entrepreneurs in both innovative and traditional sectors to set up and expand businesses in the UAE and across its boundaries.” From her virtual participation, South Africa-National Task Team on Preferential Procurement/President Cyril Ramaphosa Special advisor Prof. Olive Shisana said: “A key pillar of the National Strategic Plan (on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide) identifies economic power as a critical lever to women’s economic equality and challenges public sector institutions to develop and implement mechanisms to fast-track procurement from women-owned businesses.