The Due Diligence Framework: Building a Better Future for Women Workers in International Product Supply Chains


In October 2020, Equileap published its first report on Gender Equality in the Netherlands, assessing 100 leading companies on workplace equality. Additionally, the report included a deep dive on gender equality in global supply chains, which involved investigating to what extent companies implemented social supply chain standards with a gender lens.


Responsible business conduct


To ensure companies improve their performance on Equileap’s supply chain indicators, and to counter the implications of COVID-19, they need to take action now.

The OECD Due Diligence framework is a helpful tool to structure the actions companies can take now to build a better future for women workers.


There is still a long way to go to achieve workplace gender equality in The Netherlands


The average score of Dutch companies on the Equileap Gender Scorecard™, which focuses on performance in the workplace, was 37%. This is significantly lower than the 48% average for the top 100 French companies, and 50% for the top 100 British companies. Thus, indicating that there is still a long way to go to achieve workplace gender equality in The Netherlands. The report draws a similar conclusion when it comes to addressing gender equality in global supply chains: “Two-thirds of the companies offer transparency on social supply chain topics, but we found very little data on how the companies are approaching gender equality in the supply chain”.


“While we have found that Dutch companies are becoming more transparent and performing better on gender equality in their workforce, we did not find evidence that this is being extended to the supply chain.” Yet, it is also important that women workers’ rights are protected in global supply chains.


There are approximately 190 million women working in global supply chains


While their jobs may offer women some economic independence, if social standards go unmanaged, the reality can include low wages, excessive hours, unsafe conditions, and sexual harassment. Moreover, in this past year, COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation of women workers, economically and socially.