Empowering Women in Procurement

“Women constitute more than 50 per cent of our population. Therefore, it is foolhardy to imagine that we can make any significant strides in our development journey without recognizing the importance of the biggest segment of our population,” said Benson Turamye the executive director, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).

Globally across companies women account for over 20 percent of managers and senior managers. Even though, women are more likely to find themselves in charge of indirect procurement categories, while direct procurement is considered more strategic to a company’s business some opinions suggest that procurement with feminine involvement is more fruitful.

A survey by tenderjournal.com points out Gender stereotypes are a particularly vexing issue in the bid to promote gender parity in the procurement sector of Uganda. In our survey there three common stereotypes wide spread about women arose which suggest:

  • “Activities that typically require interpersonal skills or involve caregiving are considered as feminine”
  • “Risk-taking or decision-making is considered a masculine strength”
  • “Rationality (as opposed to emotionality) is considered  largely as a  masculine trait”

Hilda Mwesigwa manager of audit PPDA in a recent post urges women to come out and challenge the status quo. She added that women should go out of their way to acquire necessary qualifications to compete favorably for strategic positions in the procurement profession.

To better understand what companies are doing to improve their gender parity, Tenderjournal.com suggest a variety of initiatives to attract, retain, and promote women. The initiatives fell broadly into seven categories:

  1. Sponsorship from the top. This includes mentorship programs,  having visible female role models, and holding senior leaders accountable for improving gender  diversity
  2. Culture. Encouraging candid, open dialogue on gender diversity, creating an inclusive culture that embraces diverse views, valuing work output over hours worked, and training staff on unconscious gender bias.
  3. Recruitment. Creating objective, transparent hiring criteria, removing gender bias in hiring, and setting hiring targets to increase gender
  4. Development and promotion. A promotion process that is objective, transparent and meritocratic; transparent, level-based pay; a female candidate required on every promotion shortlist;  recognition for managers for making progress on gender  diversity; communication and leadership training targeted at female staff; increased gender  diversity in positions with revenue/ profit responsibilities.
  5. Parent and family support. Encouraging fathers to take paternity leaves; supporting working parents; maternity and paternity leaves that go beyond legal requirements.
  6. Flexible work options. Flexible work programs (working from home,  part-time work, etc.); both  men and women  equally  encouraged to utilize them
  7. Measuring and tracking progress toward gender diversity. Progress measured and shared across the company; targets and goals publicly disclosed; senior staff pay linked to organization performance on gender diversity.