Type to search

Supply Chain Industry Updates

New Benchmarking Tool Aims to Advance Supply Chain Gender Equality


To address a lack of women’s participation in supply chain roles, Kearney has introduced a benchmarking tool to help organizations “examine their sourcing operations and improve opportunities for diverse, women-owned and women-led businesses.”

The effort is in partnership with the Women4Business Daring Circle, run by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society. Other collaborators include P&G, BNP Paribas, Bouygues, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal and Publicis Group.

Kearney’s research found that 35% of firms surveyed in Europe and North America had supplier diversity programs, but only 18% of those that did not were planning to develop one in the future. “Without action now, almost half of businesses will still not have a supplier diversity program in place by 2022,” Kearney said.

Kearney’s findings were in line with research Gartner released earlier this year that noted that only 17% of chief supply chain officers were women. That was a 6% increase from 2019; nevertheless, the fact that fewer than one-fifth of top supply chain roles were filled by women was eye-opening.

“We can no longer ignore the benefits of diversity in every part of business operations,” Imran Dassu, a partner at Kearney, said in a statement this week. “Increasing women’s representation in supply chains will give businesses improved ability to meet diverse customer needs, bring better innovation and competition, and enhance their overall brand. For real change to happen, however, it will mean securing the highest level of commitment and buy-in from leaders and developing gender strategies that aim to tackle the root causes of inequality in the supply chain.”

Kearney explained a digital assessment tool will provide organizations with specific actions they can take to advance equal opportunity in their procurement practices and benchmark their positioning against regional and industry peers. The data also will be incorporated into the Women4Business Toolkit for Action, a set of materials designed to advance best practices in supplier diversity and inclusive sourcing.

“Inclusive sourcing has been a long-standing priority for our company, and our U.S. supplier diversity program expanded to become global in 2015,” said Jamila Belabidi, a director of Global Women Economic Empowerment at Procter & Gamble. “Economic inclusion can only be achieved through commitment, collaboration and innovative efforts such as those initiated within the Daring Circle.”