Methodology development

Launched in 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.

See methodology

Seven measurement areas

The Gender Benchmark methodology includes 34 indicators, which are distributed across seven measurement areas and are connected to a company’s full value chain, i.e., at corporate level, in the workplace, in the supply chain, marketplace and community. They represent the most salient gender issues in the apparel industry.

Scoring Guidelines

The Gender Benchmark consists of 34 indicators spread across measurement areas (governance and strategy, representation, compensation and benefits, health and well-being, violence and harassment, marketplace and community) and value chain elements (corporate, workplace, supply chain).

The 34 indicators receive an unweighted score on a scale between 0–2, where 2 is the maximum number of points that can be received for each indicator. This scoring guidelines document details the elements that are included under each indicator resulting in a company’s total unweighted score. It also shows the weightings per measurement area, as set out in the Gender Benchmark Methodology, which are equally distributed among the indicators within each value chain element under the measurement areas. The maximum possible weighted score is 100 points.

Scores for each company are publicly available at the indicator level for all stakeholders. Individual company results are presented in company scorecards and their detailed assessments.

Download Scoring Guidelines

Data collection process

The Gender Benchmark 2021 assesses relevant information from 1 January 2018 to 7 February 2021. Data was collected using publicly available sources from company websites, including sustainability and corporate responsibility reports. Companies were also invited to directly participate in the data collection process by submitting information through an online questionnaire, including internal confidential information.

The questionnaire was open during a ten-week period, from 1 December 2020 to 7 February 2021. This data collection period was followed by a clarification phase held between April and May 2021, where companies received their draft assessments and were invited to provide additional details regarding their gender efforts. All 35 companies were welcome to take part in the online questionnaire and clarification phase, during which 24 companies participated. The other 11 companies were assessed only on the basis of publicly available information.

The scope of the Gender Benchmark

A benchmark on gender equality and women’s empowerment is relevant for all industries. However, the Gender Benchmark begins by measuring and ranking companies from the apparel industry, due to the high number of women workers – particularly in companies’ supply chains – and consumers it reaches.

WBA has identified 750 keystone companies as part of a circular system – one of seven system transformations needed to achieve the SDGs. The apparel sector is part of this system – and the focus of this first spotlight benchmark examining gender.

For the first iteration of the benchmark, 35 apparel companies have been selected for assessment based on their size and influence within the industry (See Annex 4 Methodology report). This is based on WBA’s principles for keystone companies.

See Scoping Report