In bid to increase women's participation in government procurement in Bangladesh, a virtual policy dialogue called "Gender-Responsive Public Procurement in Bangladesh: A New Methodology" was held on Wednesday.
The Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of Bangladesh, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and International Trade Centre (ITC)'s SheTrades Initiative jointly organised the dialogue, said a media statement.
From the dialogue, a newly-developed methodology was presented to create a gender-responsive roadmap for public procurement in the country.
Joining the virtual event, Md Aziz Taher Khan, director of CPTU, said the presence of women bidders at the meeting is a clear testimony in favour of developing gender-responsive public procurement in Bangladesh.
"The government has made the public procurement act, a new set of public procurement rules and citizen portal EGP System, to improve the performance of public procurement with more transparency and ensure fair treatment to all," he said.
Ferdaus Ara Begum, chief executive officer of BUILD said that the governments across the world spend $9 trillion on public procurement every year.
"This amount accounts for approximately 10-15% of GDP of developed countries and up to 40% of GDP of developing countries, while women account for only 1% of public procurement opportunities worldwide," she said.
"The participation of women entrepreneurs in the public procurement system is very insignificant in Bangladesh because of the knowledge and skills gap," she added.
To facilitate Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs (WEs) engaging in the public procurement system in Bangladesh, she emphasised the importance of initiating an effective gender-responsive public procurement road map to accommodate WEs in the existing system.
Participating in the event, Anahita Vasudevan, associate economic affairs officer of ITC's SheTrades Initiative, delivered a presentation on how to re-shape public procurement for women entrepreneurs.
The presentation encompassed multi-dimensional public procurement issues in favour of women.
She also briefly described the step-by-step guide of reshaping public procurement which includes: assessing a situation, designing a roadmap, making it happen, and monitoring progress.
Judith Fessehaie, program manager officer at ITC, suggested that focus should be placed on the initiation of a globally accepted definition of WE, access to finance, capacity building need, and preferential provision to accommodate WEs in the public procurement system.
Parveen S Huda, manager, capacity building for the Center for Peace and Justice at Brac University, spoke about the Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities project supported by UN Women. It focuses on increasing the amount of WEs so that their association collectively implements their needs. Unity among WEs will lead them to prosperity, she added.