Gender-Forward Business Practices for Digital Platforms: A Supply-side Exploration
This report provides an overview of an exploration of gender-forward business practices for digital platforms, as well as an innovative Gender Lens Survey that was adapted and piloted to assess the performance of digital platforms in a scalable, accessible, and engaging way. This report is part of an overall research study on women and platform livelihoods in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.
Accompanying the individual, country-level insights derived from interviews with women platform workers, Value for Women examined possible strategies for increasing the levels of gender inclusion, and thus potential for gender equality, from the perspective of digital platforms themselves.
Value for Women explored what gender-forward business practices might look like for digital platforms specifically; how to assess these practices in a meaningful way; and specific examples of how individual platforms are implementing such practices.
Based on the research findings, this report recommends four initial steps toward more gender forward business practices digital platforms should focus on. These recommendations include:
- Improve sex-disaggregated data collection, analysis, and use.
- Draft and publish a gender commitment statement.
- Ensure all strategy and market research is done in a sex-disaggregated manner.
- Take gendered differences into account when providing worker training and support.
Finally, for ecosystem stakeholders (either working with, influencing, or supporting digital platforms), recommendations include:
- Increase advocacy around the importance and business benefits of gender-forward business practices for digital platforms.
- Encourage businesses to complete a gender self-assessment as a starting point to identify gaps and areas for improvement.
- Earmark funding for gender-forward pilots within digital platforms.
- Encourage the collection and use of sex-disaggregated data by digital platforms.
Over the course of 2021, Caribou Digital, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, undertook a qualitative research study to investigate the experiences of young women earning livelihoods on digital platforms in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria. Through interviews with women platform workers, insights about their experiences and challenges were highlighted, culminating in a better understanding of how platforms might best contribute to women’s livelihoods.
The findings from the qualitative research into the experiences of women on digital platforms are published in three separate reports in this series:
Renée is a Portfolio Lead with Value for Women. She oversees, manages and delivers a global portfolio of innovative gender and business projects, working with impact investors, businesses, and entrepreneurial ecosystem actors. Renée brings to her work a background in financial and digital inclusion, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems, along with a passion for supporting women’s empowerment. She has previously worked with Cenfri as Project Lead for the i2i Facility in South Africa, as well as with Divitel in the Netherlands.
Caribou Digital is a research and advisory firm that seeks to change the world by helping organizations build inclusive and ethical digital economies. All Caribou Digital reports are available at cariboudigital.net.