Key Topics Across Infrastructure Sectors



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Gender-Responsive PPP Legal Framework 

The PPP legal framework provides several entry points where gender issues can be addressed to narrow gaps between men and women. The PPP legal framework consists of all laws and regulations that control whether and how PPPs can be implemented in a specific country, but also includes policy documents, guidance notes as well as a broader range of applicable laws, such as sector-specific legislation. 

1. Gender-Responsive PPP Laws, Regulations and Policies

  • Gender, Law and Policy in ADB Operations: A Toolkit, Asian Development Bank (ADB), 2006 - This Gender, Law, and Policy (GLP) Toolkit helps analyze GLP issues in proposed ADB projects. The Toolkit provides general background on the gender dimension of the law and policy frameworks that govern and influence ADB-supported projects; identifies specific GLP issues in the main sectors that ADB supports; suggests entry points and practical approaches for addressing GLP issues through country partnership strategies and projects; and provides background materials, internet links, checklists, sample assurances and other tools for integrating GLP considerations in country partnership strategies and projects. It is intended to build upon and complement the ADB gender checklists that have already been developed for key sectors.

  • Public Private Partnerships, Infrastructure, Gender and Poverty by Mary Jennings and Cathy Gaynor, World Bank Institute (WBI), June 2004 - Discussion paper designed for use in training courses run by the Finance and Private Sector Development section of the WBI. The paper examines PPP projects through a gender lens, and identifies opportunities and entry points for integrating a gender and poverty dimension into PPP infrastructure projects from the preparation stage through a social assessment as well as within the PPP policy and regulatory framework. 

  • Lao PDR  -  Decree on Public-Private Partnerships  (draft, version 7 of June 2015) - The draft Decree includes gender considerations. One of the guiding principles is to ensure due diligence to mitigate negative impacts on women and children and maximize their benefit within the control of the PPPs and their implementation. It also introduces a gender sustainability assessment as part of the feasibility studies and the evaluation and award of  the proposals within the tendering process can take gender criteria established by the Evaluation Committee into account. 

  • Philippines  - National Government Public-Private Partnership Manual , draft version as of 4 August 2014 - This manual sets out guidelines and procedures for mainstreaming gender in PPP project cycles that are consistent with the gender integration strategies and guidelines of other international lending institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or the World Bank. As part of the social assessment, PPP transactions are, for instance, required to undertake a gender-responsiveness analysis to ensure that the project considers and addresses the needs of both women and men, and that the decision-making process and subsequent implementation of the project puts high priority on gender equality goals. For guidelines and procedures for mainstreaming gender into PPP projects on the sub-national level see Public-Private Partnership Manual for Local Government Units

2. Gender-Responsive PPP Enabling Environment

Before governments or private parties enter into PPP arrangements they have to review the PPP legal framework to identify requirements and constraints that may apply as well as gaps that need to be addressed. This  PPP legal framework assessment  represents an opportunity to identify gender biases in the existing policies, laws and regulations as well as gaps in the PPP legal framework where gender aspects could be incorporated to ensure that gender-related concerns are taken into account during the project cycle for the benefit of men and women.


Examples for legal restrictions that may disadvantage women to benefit equally from the services of PPP projects, limit the employment opportunities of women and restrict participation of women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in PPP projects are provisions that

  • require an identity card or other documentation to access services;
  • establish connection charges, registration fees, user fees, or other financial requirements to
    access services;
  • allocate rights or entitlements only to heads of household, landowners, full-time registered
    workers, members of particular user groups, or decision-making bodies, who are more
    likely to be men;
  • condition rights or entitlements on a certain educational level, or on basic literacy or numeracy;
  • require collateral to obtain credit;
  • allow only male relatives to inherit land;
  • allow only male household members to own and transfer land;
  • restrict married women from obtaining their own tax identification numbers;
  • preclude women from obtaining loans without the consent or guarantee of their husband or a
    male relative. 

Sources: Guidelines and Checklists for Gender in Public-Private Partnerships in Lao PDR (Draft)Gender, Law and Policy in ADB Operations: A Toolkit ; Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal




See also Legal Restriction to the Inclusion of Women Entrepreneurs.



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Gender-Responsive PPP Contracts

The PPP Contract (e.g., concession agreement, project agreement) defines the relationships between the parties, their respective rights and responsibilities, the risk allocation, and mechanisms for dealing with change. As these are usually long-term arrangements including the operation of a facility, compared to traditionally financed infrastructure projects there is scope in PPP contracts for the incorporation of gender (e.g., through the establishment of key performance indicators for the benefit of females).  Examples for gender mainstreaming in the PPP contract and recommendations on including performance parameters in projects are provided in  Gender Impact of Public-Private Partnerships – Literature Review Synthesis Report  International Finance Corporation (IFC), November 2012.  

Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric power project, Lao PDR: The project is governed by a concession agreement that sets out, among other things, social safeguards to mitigate the potential negative social impacts of the project including gender-specific actions to guarantee increased gender equity and expanded opportunities for women and girls, e.g. land titles are issued jointly to husband and wife (Concession Agreement, Schedule 4, Part 1, Social and Resettlement Component). 

See also Inclusion of Women-owned Businesses through PPP Contracts

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Integration of Women-owned Businesses in the Supply Chain


The specific design of the PPP legal framework also gives the opportunity to support the inclusion of women entrepreneurs in PPP projects. Ensuring that supply and associated contracts are awarded to or at least available to women entrepreneurs can support wider economic activity and income generation by local women. The engagement of women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in PPP projects can for example be facilitated by legislation that supports a fair participation of women-led SMEs in the bidding process, as well as the removal of all regulatory barriers that limit the ability of female entrepreneurs to participate in PPPs as well as the incorporation of gender aspects in PPP contracts. 


1. Gender-Responsive Procurement Legislation

Examples for public procurement laws that deal with empowerment of women through public procurement can be useful resources for the development of a gender-responsive PPP legal framework that encourages the inclusion of female-owned SMEs in PPP projects.

A selection of links to relevant legislation is provided below:  

 For general information on this website on public procurement laws visit  Procurement Laws.

2. Legal Restrictions to the Inclusion of Women-owned Businesses 


The participation of women-led enterprises and female entrepreneurs in PPP projects can be enhanced by a gender-responsive PPP legal framework. Restrictions on women’s rights to inheritance and property, as well as legal impediment to undertaking economic activities may constrain women from participating in PPPs. Examples are laws where women need their husband’s permission to start a business or open a bank account, where they are not allowed to own a business, or gender-biased land allocation practices and inheritance laws as well as barriers in using non-land assets as collateral that result in limited access to finance. See also Gender-responsive Legal Framework Assessment



3. Inclusion of Women-owned Businesses through PPP Contracts


The inclusion of female-owned businesses can also be promoted through PPP contracts. PPP contractual provisions can for example incentivize that supply and associated contracts are awarded to, or are at least available to women-owned enterprises.






4. Further Reading and Resources

  • Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal (World Bank 2015) measures legal and regulatory barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and employment in 173 economies. It provides quantitative measures of laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities in seven areas: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit and protecting women from violence. Links to all relevant laws and regulations organized by country and indicators are provided on the Women, Business and the Law website.  

  • SMEs and Women-owned SMEs in Mongolia - Market Research Study, International Finance Corporation (IFC) 2014 - The report highlights the key trends, challenges, and opportunities for Mongolian SMEs in three areas: enabling environment, supply and demand prospects for financial and non-financial services, and demand for and access to finance, with a particular focus on women-owned businesses.

  • The International Trade Centre's guide  Empowering Women through Public Procurement, of 2014 provides an overview of the challenges faced by women-owned businesses to participate in public procurement markets and offers tools to address these challenges as well as means to stimulate increased entrepreneurial activity by women-owned businesses. Table 1 contains further legislation examples authorizing preferential procurement policies for women-owned enterprises. 

  • Gender, Trade and Public Procurement Policy – Kenya, India, Australia, Jamaica, Raymond Mark Kirton, Commonwealth Secretariat 2013 - This report investigates how an inclusive government procurement policy, coupled with the effective management of scarce resources, can accelerate sustainable economic outcomes. It discusses the extent to which public procurement policies are gender equitable and considers the importance to integrate gender considerations into public procurement and trade policy. The publication presents four case studies on public procurement policy and practices taken from Commonwealth countries, with a particular emphasis on emerging gender-specific dimensions. 

  • Women Entrepreneurs, Policies to Support Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in the MENA Region, OECD October 2012 (English and Arabic) - This publication provides an overview of approaches and measures in MENA-OECD Investment Programme economies to promote, support and advance women's entrepreneurship development in the Middle East and North Africa. It covers such issues as access to credit and business development services and information on data collection and research on women entrepreneurs in the MENA area.

  • Women, Entrepreneurship and the Opportunity to Promote Development and Business, Carmen Niethammer, Policy Briefs, Brookings Institution 2013 -  This brief provides an overview of the global landscape of women’s entrepreneurship and highlights some of the typical challenges women face in accessing credit, training, networks and information, as well as legal and policy constraints. It focuses in particular on potential solutions and enablers by drawing on practical experiences from the public and private sectors in both emerging and developed markets and concludes that innovative partnerships, particularly when private and public sector entities are involved, are beginning to make a dent, with the potential for large-scale impact. 

  • Strengthening Access to Finance for Women-Owned SMEs in Developing Countries, International Finance Corporation (IFC) October 2011 - A number of factors have been investigated as limitations to SMEs that are managed/operated by women, including institutional and regulatory issues, lack of access to finance, relatively low rates of business education or work experience, risk aversion, confinement of women’s businesses to slower growth sectors, and the burden of household management responsibilities. As access to finance is repeatedly identified as a major constraint to women entrepreneurs, this report sets out to analyze the issues involved in improving access to finance for women-owned businesses.

  • Empowering Women: Legal Rights and Economic Opportunities in AfricaMary Hallward-Driemeier and Tazeen Hasan, World Bank 2011 -  This publication reviews the extent of gender inequality in legal rights to property and access to justice, and discusses the implications of that inequality for women’s economic empowerment in Africa. It also discusses the extent to which the law can play a catalytic role for economic development and women’s economic empowerment. 

  • Women in Infrastructure Works: Boosting Gender Equality and Rural Development Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organization (ILO), Gender and Rural Employment Policy Brief # 5, 2010  - This policy brief explains how rural infrastructure programs can enhance women’s participation and benefits – as workers during construction, as entrepreneurs and as beneficiaries of the assets created.

  • Scaling Up: Why Women-Owned  Businesses can Recharge the Global EconomyErnst & Young, 2009 - The report makes a business case for supporting women entrepreneurs as means to driving economic growth. It highlights gender-specific obstacles when it comes to doing business including examples for discriminatory laws. 

  • Public Private Partnerships – Promoting Gender Equity – The Gender and Growth Assessment for Uganda, Gender Entrepreneurship Markets (GEM) initiative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - Summary of the results of a Gender and Growth Assessment (GGA) that was undertaken at the request of Uganda's Minister of Finance and sought to find out the constraints Ugandan women entrepreneurs face. 

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Employment and Corporate Leadership

Evidence suggests that there is a link between economic growth and equal participation of women in the labor market. The PPP legal framework can promote equal employment opportunities for jobs related to PPP infrastructure projects. Listed below are various publications that deal with laws, regulations and other initiatives that support increased female participation in the workplace, higher qualified positions and in the boardroom. 

  • Gender Diversity in Jordan – Research on the Impact of Gender Diversity on the Economic Performance of Companies in Jordan, International Finance Corporation (IFC) 2015 - The report reveals both the opportunities and challenges for Jordan in its effort to increase women’s participation in boards and offers suggestions and recommendations to encourage greater gender diversity in the boardroom. Chapter 8 lists examples of laws, regulations and other national initiatives that aim to enable increase gender diversity at the workplace, including female entry into management or nomination to the corporate board (e.g. quotas, disclosure requirements, diversity guidelines requiring companies to implement corporate policies and strategies). Related to the report see also Women are Key for Corporate Success blog by Ahmed Attiga of 10 December 2015. 
  • Investing in Women’s Employment: Good for Business, Good for Development, International Finance Corporation (IFC) October 2013 - This report was produced by WINvest (Investing in Women), a World Bank Group partnership with the private sector for promoting women’s employment. It outlines how investing in women’s employment has led to enhanced business performance and productivity for companies in diverse countries and sectors and provides guidance on the best ways of gauging the benefits of women’s employment, including longer-term benefits.
  • Women in Infrastructure Works: Boosting Gender Equality and Rural Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organization (ILO), Gender and Rural Employment Policy Brief # 5, 2010  - This policy brief explains how rural infrastructure programs can enhance women’s participation and benefits – as workers during construction, as entrepreneurs and as beneficiaries of the assets created.

PPP contracts can also promote female employment and corporate leadership. See e.g., Public-Private Partnership Agreement for the Management and Operation of the Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park.

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Useful Links


  • - is an open global platform that promotes collaboration, learning and innovation to advance women’s economic empowerment. It connects women and men in more than 190 economies with development partners from the private sector, civil society, academia, governments and international organizations. 

  • Female Entrepreneurship Resource Point - The Female Entrepreneurship Resource Point responds to increasing demands for best practices and tools to integrate gender in private sector development and entrepreneurship promotion programs, and to address the needs and constraints faced by female entrepreneurs. It is designed to have two functions—provide practical guidance and recommendations, and serve as a clearinghouse of programs, emerging research and data on the topic.

  • Global Banking Alliance for Women - Program launched in 2007 that aims to promote women’s entrepreneurship through building the capacity of financial institutions to serve women customers. 
  • IFC: Gender Overview - This online resource offers a wealth of knowledge on topics related to gender inclusion in the private sector. The resources are categorized under different headings, in particular Employment, Entrepreneurship & Supply Chain and Leadership. See also Gender at IFC.

  • International Labour Organization (ILO) - Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch (GED): The GED of the International Labour Organization is responsible for promoting equality and respect for diversity in the world of work. It provides policy advice, tools, guidance and technical assistance to constituents including with respect to promoting more inclusive workplaces, and ensuring that policies, programs and institutions are gender-responsive.

  • SheWorks - Private sector partnership led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that aims to improve employment opportunities for women. 
  • UFGE – The Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality aims to maximize returns on investment  by promoting gender-smart approaches in country-level policy dialogue, investment and lending, technical assistance, and advisory service. In connection, the new Private Sector Window of the UFGE which the IFC manages, aims to close gaps between men and women as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers, suppliers and leaders in the private sector. 

  • UN Women UN Women is the United Nations Entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment and brings together resources and mandates for greater impact. 

  • UN Women Constitutional Database - This website compiles all the different provisions related to gender contained in constitutions in countries around the world, available in the original language, along with English translations. The database can be searched by keywords, provisions, regions or countries.

  • Women, Business and the Law - In 2007, The World Bank Group's Doing Business project, which measures regulations and their effects on small- to medium-sized enterprises, started documenting the legal and regulatory barriers women entrepreneurs face. A regulatory climate that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to start or run a business encourages the participation of women in the workplace. In countries that rank high for their ease of doing business, women's unemployment is low and there are numerous women entrepreneurs. In countries that rank low, the opposite is true.

  • Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) - WEAmericas leverages public-private partnerships to increase women’s economic participation and address three key barriers women confront when starting and growing SMEs: access to training and networks, access to markets, and access to finance. Through these collaborations, the United States and its partners will (1) provide training and mentoring to women entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on business growth; (2) Support market access initiatives in countries throughout the region; and (3) Launch and expand initiatives to facilitate women-owned SMEs’ access to credit and other financial services.

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Last Updated : Thu,2019-02-07

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