Women’s Empowerment in Global Value Chains: A Framework for Business Action to Advance Women’s Health, Rights, and Wellbeing


BSR with support from Women Deliver and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Type of Resource


Year of Release






Sub Categories

Women and Gender Equality

Issues Addressed

Human Rights


The objective of this report is to uncover business opportunities that advance the health, rights, and wellbeing of women in global value chains. The report provides a framework for action and practical guidance for companies to identify and strengthen value chain investment opportunities that deliver positive returns to women, business and society.


This report builds on a number of studies, the latest literature and company interviews for uncovering the business opportunities of empowering women in value chains. The result is a framework for how business can contribute to women’s empowerment, illustrated with examples from current business initiatives.

The framework is based on three elements that business can use for developing their response:

Three key principles:

  • A holistic approach: Companies should look at economic, social, cultural and political factors that affect women.
  • An integrated approach: Embedding gender considerations across the company.
  • A strategic approach: Take account of the business strategy, needs and possible advantages.

Business action:

  • Act: Taking action within the company’s direct control.
  • Enable: Investing and partnering to enable collaboration along the value chain.
  • Influence: Research, advocacy and communication to promote the actions.

Guidance on how to translate the principles and framework into a business agenda:

  1. 1. Establish the business case: Understand how the company impacts women and how women contribute to the business value.
  2. 2. Set priorities: Prioritize issues that have the greatest potential for empowering women and creating value.
  3. 3. Identify opportunities for action: Developing a strategic action plan based on the priorities set.
  4. 4. Integrate and implement.