Gender and equality in public procurement

Dam under construction in Sri Lanka. Photo: Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank Dam under construction in Sri Lanka. Photo: Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank

Thank you for your interest in this event You can access the slides and recording below. 




Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and women-led SMEs (WLSMEs) play critical roles in economic growth and development. However, the share of public procurement contracts that are won by SMEs, especially WLSMEs, remain low.  Only 1% of the $11 trillion spent annually on public procurement is awarded to women-owned businesses.

WLSMEs face administrative, financial and procedural challenges in accessing and participating in public procurement markets, due to the complexity and costliness of procurement processes.

Several countries are implementing policies specifically geared towards lowering barriers to entry for WLSMEs, as evidenced by the initiatives in Kenya, Senegal, and Scotland as well as initiatives taken by the World Bank’s own Corporate Procurement.


  • Chair: Caren Grown (Gender, Global Director, World Bank) and Vinay Sharma (Global Director, Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, World Bank)
  • Discussant: Hiba Tahboub, Practice Manager, Governance-Procurement, World Bank
  • Moderator: Nazaneen Ismail Ali, Senior Procurement Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank
  • Remarks: Nagaraju Duthalari, Lead Procurement Speicalist, World Bank
  • Keynote Speaker: Jessica Tillipman, Assistant Dean for Government Procurement Law Studies; Government Contracts Advisory Council Professorial Lecturer in Government Contracts Law, Practice & Policy, George Washington University Law School


  • Alastair Merrill, Vice-Principal, Governance at University of St Andrews
  • Eric Korir, Director of Public Procurement in the National Treasury, Kenya
  • Sofya Muradyan, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank
  • Adam Rubinfield, Procurement Specialist, World Bank Corporate Procurement

For more information about the event and the World Bank's work on public procurement, check out: Gender and Equality in Public Procurement & Procurement for Development


Women in Public Procurement: What is a woman-led business?

Gender and Equality in Public Procurement: Perspectives from Scotland

Gender and Equality in Public Procurement Republic of Kenya

Access to public procurement and the private sector perspective

Gender Responsive Procurement at the World Bank Group


Nicholas Nam

External Affairs Specialist

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