BLOG IMAGE Gender Equality Procurement It's time for targets

Gender Equality Procurement: It’s Time for Government Targets

Femeconomy would like the Federal Government and all State and Territory Governments to introduce at least a 5% gender equality procurement budget target for government spending with women owned and women led businesses, to support women’s economic security.

The US Government has a target of spending 5% of their budget with women owned businesses, which was introduced in 1994. We would like Australia’s Governments to do the same.

The Australian Greens in January 2022 announced a Policy that they will legislate to require government agencies to spend a minimum of 3% of their annual procurement budget with women-led businesses.

Femeconomy have advocated to introduce Gender Equality Procurement with all State and Territory Governments and Federal Government. As a result of these conversations, many State Governments have adopted Gender Equality Procurement Commitments, including Queensland Government Women’s Strategy, New South Wales Government Budget 2022-23 Women’s Opportunity Statement, South Australian Government Women’s Policy and the Western Australian Government Stronger Together Action Plan.

Government Commitments to Gender Equality Procurement

The Queensland Government has committed in their Women’s Strategy to achieve economic security for women through:

  • Using government’s purchasing power to drive increased gender equality in the private sector, and encourage businesses and community organisations to do the same.

The newly elected South Australian Government has committed to:

  • Introduce an Equality Bill to encourage public and private sector organisations to achieve equality and to adjust procurement and grants processes to ensure funding supports equity.
  • Require all grants and procurement processes to increase gender equity.

The New South Wales Government has committed to:

  • $3.7 million to monitor the proportion of women-led businesses in government procurement and promote equitable practices in business.

The Western Australian Government has committed to Procurement Practices to Support Gender Equality stating:

  • Public sector procurement presents an opportunity for the WA Government to leverage its role as a major capital investor, asset manager and purchaser of goods and services. A Social Procurement Framework was released in 2021 as part of broader procurement reform to improve efficiencies across the public sector.
  • The State Government recognises that government procurement is a significant lever to create behaviour change to progress gender equality in Western Australia and improve women’s employment and economic outcomes.

The WA Government have commenced a 12 month procurement pilot across 15 Government Departments to raise awareness of the benefits of gender equality in the workplace:

  • The Media Release says that:
    • As part of the pilot, larger suppliers with 100 or more employees will be required to provide a copy of their compliance letter demonstrating that they meet gender equality reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
    • Suppliers with fewer than 100 employees will be required to answer questions that focus on whether certain policies or initiatives are in place to support a gender equal workplace.
  • WA Government’s Gender Equality in Procurement website provides a range of resources to assist suppliers to build their gender equality capability.
  • Femeconomy worked with the WA Department of Communities to develop resources to assist with the procurement pilot.

Gender Equality Procurement creates Economic Security and Workforce Participation for Women

Women owned businesses access only 1 per cent of the procurement market globally. Setting minimum procurement targets for women-led businesses benefits everyone in the supply chain and helps women-led businesses to grow. Women-owned businesses represent women from all walks of life, allowing women to use their education, skills and training, and develop flexible working models around caring responsibilities. Practical policies that support these businesses are vital to closing the gender pay gap.

Australia’s Indigenous Procurement Policies have created a social and economic impact for our Indigenous communities, demonstrating an Australian evidence base for the benefits of supplier diversity.

A business with a female founder and female executive employs 6x more women. They are part of the solution to improve women’s economic security and workforce participation.

Targets are critical

Deliberate and specific strategies that support women owned businesses, will have the benefit of supporting women’s economic security, workplace flexibility, new structures around caring models and women’s continued workforce participation.

For further insights on why this is important and how women owned businesses impact women’s economic security and workforce participation, please see the following research papers:

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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.