Programme Development, Women’s Economic Empowerment - International Consultant
Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace, and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates the efforts of the United Nations system to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. UN Women provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with governments, national institutions, civil society, academia, and intergovernmental organizations.
Enhancing women’s participation and leadership and promoting economic justice and rights for women are key strategic priorities for UN Women in the Arab States region. Key international commitments support this, including the 2030 Agenda, Beijing Declaration, and Platform for Action, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and relevant International Labour Organization conventions on gender equality. UN Women supports women’s economic empowerment in line with these, and with the growing body of evidence that shows that gender equality significantly contributes to advancing economies and sustainable development.
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line. Research is already indicating major economic losses for women globally (Oxfam, 2021). The Arab region’s economy is expected to contract by at least 5.7% and the ranks of the poor are estimated to rise by 14.3 million people, swelling to more than 115 million. That is one-quarter of the total Arab population. The output contraction varies considerably between countries in the region. The loss projections are as high as 19.2% for Lebanon to as low as 2% for Qatar. The regional economy is projected to recover only modestly in 2021, expanding by 2.1 percent, weaker than previously expected, and accelerate to 3.1 percent in 2022, again with vast variations between countries. Among oil exporters, growth is expected to recover to 1.8 percent in 2021 supported by normalizing oil demand, a scheduled easing of the OPEC+ oil production cuts, policy support, and gradual phasing out of domestic pandemic-related restrictions. Among oil importers, the growth is expected to rebound to 3.2 percent in 2021 as mobility restrictions are gradually eased and exports and domestic demand recover slowly.
In the MENA region, if women were to participate in the economy on par with men, their contribution would add $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to the global economy in 2025. Further, there is evidence that gender equality can play a critical role in helping companies bounce back faster: the data shows that for every 10% increase in gender equity, there is a 1% to 2% increase in revenue.
In the Arab states, the labor force participation (LFP) rate of women is around 19.8%, among the lowest in the world. High differences are present among the countries in the region, with conflict-affected countries such as Yemen (6%), Iraq (11.5%), Palestine (16%), and Syria (14.7%) with the lowest LFP rates, and countries of the GCC such as Qatar (56.6%), UAE (52%), Kuwait (49.8%) and Bahrain (45.3%) with the highest LFP rates in the region, pointing at the significant variety in the labor force participation of women in the region. Additionally, in the Arab States, it is estimated that about 68.6% of employment is informal, among women 61.8% and men at 70.2% (ILO Statistical picture report 2018). About 33% of women are involved in vulnerable employment compared to 23% for men (ILOSTAT).
Women play an outsized role in the care economy in the Arab States, performing 4.7 times more unpaid care work than men – the highest female-to-male ratio anywhere in the world, again with vast variations between countries.
Working with a variety of partners, UN Women’s programmes promote women’s ability to secure decent jobs, accumulate assets, influence institutions and public policies determining growth and development, and focus on enhancing the capacity of private sector companies to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) by promoting decent work opportunities for women and integrating a gender perspective in the business environment and practices. As per consultations with member states, youth, and civil society across the region, a key area of focus for UN Women in the coming 5-year period is women and the economy, supporting economic recovery, with a focus on increasing women’s labor force participation.
Objective of the Assignment:
The overall objective of this assignment is to lead the development of a large scale (on impact) yet focused (on operational direction) Programme Document, aiming at accelerating post-COVID-19 economic recovery through increasing the number of women participating in the labor force in the Arab States region (particularly in countries where UN Women has a physical presence and has prioritized its engagement as a non-resident agency in the Gulf Region), from the current regional baseline of 19.8% (ILOSTAT) to the targets stipulated in international /regional frameworks and importantly in the respective National Action Plans.
This programme design assignment includes a depth technical analysis on how concretely (by focusing on new, targeted pathways and enablers, with limited resources) to accelerate the number of women in decent employment, contributing to achieving national targets to increase the number of women in the labor force, and identifying ways of measuring the impact of UN Women’s work in the lives of women and girls in a solid and measurable results chain. The assignment also requires guidance, consultation, and coordination between UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States, country offices, and other stakeholders in the region. The consultations will be guided by the SLM.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the overall supervision of the Regional Director as head of the Regional Senior Leadership Team (SLT), with the direct guidance of Representatives, Heads of Office and the Deputy Regional Director (SLT members), and matrix day-to-day management from the Regional Economic Empowerment Specialist of the UN Women Regional Office for the Arab State (ROAS), the consultant will undertake the following:
Preparation work to develop a Programme Document includes:
Establish an evidence base (6 – 8 weeks)
- Updated desk review on GDP projections (2022 - 2025) for each country given COVID-19, using the UN Women Arab States macro-economic projection model (forthcoming) to estimate the effects of not achieving stipulated targets in National Plans, on GDP and building on existing research conducted by UN Women on economic recovery plans;
- Updated desk review on the most critical determinants to increase women’s participation in decent employment in the region and country-wise;
- Desk review of UN Women’s ongoing work and its impact, building on available analysis conducted by the WEE team.
For the above 3 points, the consultant is expected to:
- Coordinate with UN Women country offices to identify key partners and existing capacity and gaps, including potential areas for interventions based on the overall direction provided by the SLT and ROAS WEE team;
- Develop sets of key questions and methodology for validating priorities and collecting required information for Programme document development;
- Organize bi-lateral and/or small consultations with key stakeholders and document the discussions, as agreed to with the SLT members;
- Map and meet with relevant UN agencies and donors to collect related information;
- Produce a brief report to capture the key discussion points and recommendations with a particular focus on specific, concrete, and tangible measures that UN Women should (and could realistically realize) focus on, to accelerate the speed of increasing the number of women in the workforce in the Arab States region.
Development of a programme document that meets the standard requirements of UN Women, linking to the UN Women Strategic Plan, National UN Cooperation Frameworks, and UN Women Strategic Notes in the region.
- Based on the capacity and stakeholder analysis above, draft a programme document that meets the requirements of UN Women, including log frame, budget, and performance monitoring framework;
- Based on the feedback from ROAS and country offices, revise the ProDoc as necessary.
Note: The programme is defined as a regional, multi-year and large-scale programme for the progressive increase of the number of women with access to decent employment opportunities, hence contributing to national targets increasing the number of women in the workforce. The programme is expected to be geared towards one or all of the following interventions: A) access to formal job markets (existing jobs), B) access to new jobs (job creation), and C) starting businesses (entrepreneurship), particularly focused on formal employment and advancing green business and circular economy. The programme builds on ongoing work and can target jobs both in the private and public sectors. The workforce participation component will be complemented by simultaneous interventions targeting the most critical barriers, hindering women from workforce participation and access to decent work opportunities. The programme can cover rural and urban areas. The programme will have a clearly phased exit strategy and the programme is expected to result in be financial self-sustainability of women. The programme will entail a robust monitoring pillar for measurable impact. The programme will link to existing projects at regional and national levels with the aim of bringing these to scale.
The assignment is home-based. However, the consultant might be requested to travel on a mission to Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, for which travel costs and Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) will be provided. Travel Authorization will be granted to the consultant prior to the travel date.
The consultant is expected to deliver the following:
Inception report outlining timeline, methodology, and approach to programme development including potential travel to key targeted countries
Within 2 weeks after signing the contract
Updated desk review on GDP projections (2022 - 2025) for each country given an increase of the number of women in the workforce, in line with stipulated targets in National Plans
Within 2 weeks after signing the contract
Updated context analysis and desk review on the most critical barriers and enablers for women’s participation in the workforce.
Within 4 weeks after signing the contract
Desk review of ongoing work and its impact in this area of WEE, in key targeted countries and regional programmes.
Within 5 weeks after signing the contract
A brief report to capture the key discussion points and recommendations with particular focus on developing a regional, multi-year and large-scale programme for the progressive increase in the labor participation of women. The programme is expected to be geared towards one or all of the following interventions: A) access to job markets (existing jobs), B) access to new jobs (job creation), and C) starting businesses (entrepreneurship), particularly focused on advancing green business and circular economy. The programme will link to existing projects at regional and national levels with the aim of bringing these to scale. The draft and final document are to be presented and presentation to the Senior Leadership Team of the region.
First draft programme document (following the UN Women’s Programme and Operation Manual), including theory of change, the log frame, and performance monitoring framework.
Revised draft project document incorporating feedback from UN Women
Final draft programme document incorporating feedback from UN Women and potential donors/partners
- Respect for Diversity;
- Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues;
- Creative Problem Solving;
- Effective Communication;
- Inclusive Collaboration;
- Stakeholder Engagement;
- Leading by Example.
Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies: https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/about%20us/employment/un-women-values-and-competencies-framework-en.pdf?la=en&vs=637
- Strong knowledge of economic development in the MENA Region;
- Strong analytical and planning skills;
- Ability to provide evidence-based, strategic advise;
- Ability to define results-based programmes;
- Excellent communication skills;
- Ability to work efficiently and responsively within a multicultural environment;
- Strong commitment to gender equality, human rights, and respect for diversity.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree in economics, international development, gender studies, or related field;
- A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- At least 10 years of relevant professional work experience in programme development and implementation including monitoring and evaluation activities, with strong technical expertise in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is required;
- At least 5 years experience in advancing women’s labor force participation;
- A strong track record in regional, large scale, multi-sector project/programme formulation and drafting programme documents for the UN or international organizations is required;
- Knowledge of and work experience on women’s economic empowerment, women-owned business, and private sector engagement with experience in the Arab States region is required;
- Knowledge of results-based management (RBM) and the application of RBM principles in programme formulation is required;
- Previous experience with UN agencies is an advantage;
- Experience in partnership building with the government, private sector and/or engaging the private sector for development is an advantage.
- Fluency in oral and written English is required;
- Knowledge of Arabic is considered a strong asset.
Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodology: Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points in the technical evaluation would be considered for the financial evaluation.
Criteria Weight Technical: 70% (70 points)
- Master’s degree in economics, international development, gender studies, or related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. (10 points max)
- At least 10 years of relevant professional work experience in programme development and implementation including monitoring and evaluation activities, with strong technical expertise in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is required. (10 points max)
- At least 5 years experience in advancing women’s labor force participation. (10 points max)
- A strong track record in regional, large scale, multi-sector project/programme formulation and drafting programme documents for the UN or international organizations is required. (10 points max)
- Knowledge of and work experience on women’s economic empowerment, women-owned business, and private sector engagement with experience in the Arab States region is required. (10 points max)
- Knowledge of results-based management (RBM) and the application of RBM principles in programme formulation is required. (5 points max)
- Previous experience with UN agencies is an advantage. (5 points max)
- Experience in partnership building with the government, private sector and/or engaging the private sector for development is an advantage. (5 points max)
- Fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of Arabic is considered a strong asset. (5 points max)
Financial: Lowest Financial Proposal: 30% (30 points)
The points for the Financial Proposal will be allocated as per the following formula:
- The contract will be awarded to the technically qualified consultant who obtains the highest combined score (financial and technical);
- The points for the Financial Proposal will be allocated as per the following formula: (Lowest Bid Offered*)/ (Bid of the Consultant) x 30;
- 'Lowest Bid Offered' refers to the lowest price offered by Offerors scoring at least 49 points in the technical evaluation.
Interested Individual Consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:
- A cover letter with a brief presentation of your consultancy explaining your suitability for the work and link to the portfolio of work;
- UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/employment;
- Personal CV; and Financial proposal; Proposed all-inclusive financial proposal, disaggregated per deliverable.
The above-mentioned documents should be merged in a standalone file including all of the above since the online application submission does only permit uploading one file per application. Incomplete submission can be a ground for disqualification.
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW, and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment.