Gender Benchmark

WBA is developing the Gender Benchmark. This benchmark covers how companies contribute to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and beyond. It assesses and compares how companies promote gender equality and women’s empowerment across their entire value chain.

Why a Gender benchmark?

Gender inequalities persist around the world. Companies, while varied in their approaches and levels of commitment to it, stand to evolve in how they promote gender equality and women’s empowerment across their entire value chains.

Publicly available benchmarks on companies’ current gender efforts are a vital step towards shedding light on the reality of corporate gender impact. These benchmarks can serve as a global accountability mechanism and help companies evolve in further promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) aims to measure corporate gender impacts and accelerate progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment with its Gender Benchmark. This benchmark is part of WBA’s wider work to measure and rank the world’s 2,000 most influential companies’ contributions to achieving the SDGs by 2030. This includes  assessing all 2,000 companies on social inclusion, of which gender is a core part.

WBA seeks to create a corporate gender benchmark that is fully transparent, comprehensive, publicly available and aligned with stakeholders’ expectations.


The Gender Benchmark will measure the extent to which companies contribute to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and beyond.

This benchmark is grounded in in key international principles and normative standards and aligns with widely-accepted gender frameworks and initiatives. It looks across companies’ entire value chains, from their workplaces and supply chains to their marketplaces and communities, capturing the most salient gender themes in each context.

The Gender Benchmark takes an industry-specific approach, starting with a spotlight on the apparel industry It includes a robust set of indicators that look beyond corporate policies to also assess their performance outcomes.

Development process

The Gender Benchmark is based on the development process of WBA.

This benchmark is in the final phase of the methodology development. Its draft methodology has been open for public comment until 31 January 2020.

In February and March we processed all submitted feedback and completed the Gender Benchmark methodology, which has been available since 31 March 2020.

We will publish a baseline report of gender in the apparel Industry in September 2020. This report will review the current level of data disclosure regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment in the apparel sector and will be based on publicly available information only. It will include industry-wide findings and good practices, company-level profiles, and an overview of company responses to COVID-19.

The first iteration of the Gender Benchmark will be available in 2021.


The Gender Benchmark is being developed by a core team at WBA, in close collaboration with a broad group of external stakeholders. These include leading gender experts from across companies, investors, civil society organisations, academia and governments, as well as an Expert Review Committee (ERC).

Danielle Burt
Benchmark Lead Gender Benchmark

Elli Siapkidou
Research Lead Gender Benchmark

Mathias Brodersen
Research Analyst

Melinda George
Senior Researcher

Shamista Selvaratnam
Research Analyst

Roselyn Kang'ara
Research Analyst

Expert Review Committee (ERC) includes individuals from a variety of stakeholder groups, all active in the gender equality and women’s empowerment space. Members of the ERC include:

  • Bonnie Chiu, Managing Director, The Social Investment Consultancy
  • Brian Hellman, Senior Research Officer, Promundo
  • Carmen Niethammer, Former Program Manager – Women in Work, International Finance Corporation
  • David Wofford, Vice President – Meridian Group International, Inc.
  • Diana Gutierrez, Manager – Global Programme on Business for Gender Equality, UN Development Programme
  • Lauren Gula, Senior Manager – Social Sustainability & Gender Equality, UN Global Compact
  • Magali Barraja, Former Associate Director – Women’s Empowerment, BSR
  • Subhalakshmi Nandi, Former Deputy Regional Director – Asia, International Center for Research on Women


Gender Equality & Empowerment Benchmark Initial Scoping research report

This report explores the need for a new gender equality and women’s empowerment benchmark that builds on the great gender work that exists today. It suggests that a new benchmark requires an approach that is integrated (covers the full value chain), holistic (considers the many dimensions of gender equality and empowerment) and balanced (recognizes the varied ways companies can take action and drive change).

First roundtable – summary report

(Mumbai, March 2019) – This report summarizes the discussions and key takeaways from our first roundtable, which welcomed a mix of private sector, multi-lateral, civil society and academic organisations.

Second roundtable – summary report

(Vancouver, June 2019) – This report summarizes the discussions and key takeaways from our second roundtable, which was held on the margins of the Women Deliver 2019 conference.

Third roundtable – summary report

(Bangalore, December 2019) This report summarizes the discussions and key takeaways from our third roundtable, which brought together 16 participants from across 12 leading global apparel companies.

Gender Benchmark – draft methodology

This report has been open for public comment until 31 January 2020.

Gender Benchmark – methodology report

(March 2020) The methodology is based on a thorough research and multi-stakeholder engagement process and includes 34 indicators, which are connected to a company’s full value chain.

Get involved

We openly encourage constructive and meaningful feedback. This can happen through the (virtual) multi-stakeholder sessions we organise.

For more information on the Gender Benchmark, please contact us at