Press releases

ITC, UN Women call on countries to join gender-responsive public procurement campaign

12 March 2024
ITC News
  • Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Kenya and Morocco join a handful of international organizations as initial supporters of global campaign
  • Least developed countries spend up to 40% of GDP on goods and services – but only 1% is provided by women-led businesses

(New York/Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and UN Women today launched a global campaign to support gender-responsive public procurement on day one of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the annual meeting of the global intergovernmental body promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.

Public procurement is the process through which governments source goods and services from businesses, for example, computers for offices, meals for school children or the building of a road. The global public procurement market is $13 trillion – the amount of which if stacked in single bills would be more than enough to reach the moon, twice.

ITC research shows that public procurement can account for up to 40% of a country’s GDP. Public procurement makes up a larger portion of GDP for developing countries.

While this offers small businesses a huge opportunity to grow, only 1% of government contracts go to women-owned businesses. This is despite women owning one in three firms globally.

Pledging support

This global campaign is designed to raise awareness of and highlight specific actions that countries can take to unleash the benefits of gender-responsive public procurement not only for women entrepreneurs and gender equality, but also for the economies of both developing and developed countries.

Australia and Canada have made country pledges, which are specific to each Member State.

Fourteen countries and international organizations have submitted statements of support for the gender-responsive public procurement campaign.


  • Australia: Senator the Honourable Katy Gallagher, Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service
  • Canada: Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
  • Dominican Republic: Carlos Pimentel, Director General, General Directorate of the Federal Procurement Agency
  • Ecuador: Sonsoles García, Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries
  • El Salvador: María Luisa Hayem Brevé, Minister of Economy
  • European Union: Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission / EU Trade Commissioner
  • Kenya: Honourable Harriette Chiggai, President’s Advisor on Women’s Rights
  • Morocco: Mr. Fouzi Lekjaa, Minister Delegate, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Director of Budget


International organizations:

  • Asian Development Bank: Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa, President
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General
  • International Labour Organization (ILO): Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO): Mr. Gerd Müller, Director General
  • World Bank Group: Dr. Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development
  • World Trade Organization (WTO): Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General

The side event launching the campaign was co-organized by the Government of Kenya, the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations and the Republic of Ecuador. The campaign launch in New York follows a soft launch on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

For more information on gender-responsive public procurement, download this ITC report.

To learn about women and procurement in an interactive way, take this ITC SME Trade Academy course.

For detailed information on public tenders and contract awards, check out the ITC Procurement Map.

Note to the Editor

About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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Media contact

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at]
T: +41 22 730 0651