International Consultant for conducting a scoping study and review of existing laws, policies, and practices from gender lens for women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in Bangladesh

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Home based, BANGLADESH
Application Deadline :12-Oct-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Gender Equality
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :25 October 2021 to 10 January 2022 (30 working days)

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, 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 Centre of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations System efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It has been providing strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors. 

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are at the heart of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically in relation to women’s economic empowerment (WEE). This WEE agenda has evolved through further engagement with governments and other key stakeholders, such as during the 2017 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Group of 20 (G20) and the Group of 7 (G7) . The Leaders of G7 summit held in 2020, reinforced their commitment “to work to remove barriers to women’s participation and decision-making in social, economic and political spheres as well as to increase the opportunities for all to participate equally in all aspects of the labour market”. The G7 Leaders committed to promote women’s full economic participation through working to reduce the gender wage gap, supporting women business leaders and entrepreneurs and recognizing the value of unpaid care work. 

COVID-19 has thrown the world into an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis, which is impacting all countries and societies directly or indirectly. Women workers, including women migrant workers of which there are 34 million in Asia and the Pacific, play a crucial role in services and labor-intensive manufacturing as well as in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and in the informal sector on which much of the formal sector depends . The impact of COVID-19 on women’s livelihoods have taken a major hit, that increasing care burden, disproportionate access to resources and social protection infrastructure and women’s limited influence on decision making in homes and communities. Women have lost their jobs and earnings at alarming rates. Globally, in 2019 and 2020, women lost more than 54 million jobs. Women, who already faced substantial disadvantages in access to jobs and incomes, have borne the brunt of the economic fallout of the pandemic.  UN Women estimates that an additional 47 million women worldwide will be pushed into extreme poverty by 2021 and gender poverty gaps are expected to widen further, particularly among women and men of reproductive age. During pandemics women’s unpaid work in families and communities has increased. Across 45 countries surveyed as part of the UN Women Rapid Gender Assessments, women were more likely than men to report an increase in childcare responsibilities . 

The COVID-19 outbreak is disproportionately affecting women workers in Bangladesh, particularly who are engaged in the informal sector of economy. In this context, it is critical to address the employment opportunities and alternative livelihood options for women in Bangladesh for the next 20 years. The economic empowerment of women is one of the key national agenda, as the national plan of the Government of Bangladesh recognizes that women’s economic empowerment is one of the key goals to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In September 2020, the Honorable Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, pledged to achieve gender parity in the labour force by 2041. In 2016, the UN Secretary General convened a High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to drive poverty eradication, inclusive economic growth, and gender equality.  

Despite the strong policy frameworks and commitments, women remain marginalized and deeply undervalued in social and economic life, resulting in lower participation in the formal economy, lower wages, lower economic resilience, and autonomy, and vulnerability to highly gendered risks of exploitation. Their contribution to economy has not been translated into inclusive and equitable growth, and their labour force participation has not been increased as expected, instead of their concentration increased in informal employment. The Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) rate is 36.3% compared to 81.4%  for males; the ratio of women to men is 1:3  in wage employment. Most of women are in the informal sector including temporary employment such as day laborers and in unpaid family businesses, along with unpaid care and domestic work burden.    

In Bangladesh, women comprise of around 60%  of RMG workers, and 30%  of leather footwear and textile manufacturing workforce, and more than 50% of tea garden workers are female. Despite having higher concentration of women workers in the RMG and textile sectors, women’s contributions in many aspects to the economy are often overlooked. Furthermore, in rural areas, women often work as unpaid family workers, adding value to agricultural products through sorting, packing, and processing and as low-paid home-based workers. This unpaid labour is not recognized as economic gains to families and communities; therefore, it does not effectively translate into women’s economic empowerment. Women domestic workers are also catalytic for broader economic empowerment of women. By performing domestic and care work, employers of women domestic workers can spend more time working, running businesses, and engaging productively in social and economic life. Further, women domestic workers perform essential services by caring for children, the elderly, people with illnesses and people with disabilities. 

Bangladesh is a significant country of origin, with an estimated 13 million migrants in 151 countries worldwide. Remittances from more than 13 million citizens abroad are very important for the country. Overseas employment is the country’s second-largest source of income, with remittances amounting to $21.75 billion in 2020. Between 1976 and 2020, an estimated 13 million migrated from Bangladesh to take up employment in foreign countries. About 924,415 women migrated from 1991 to 2020 from Bangladesh to different countries .
Majority of Bangladeshi female migrant workers are employed as domestic workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. They are often exposed to high levels of exploitation, violence, and abuse by their employer in destination countries and upon returning home. According to a needs assessment study conducted by ILO recently, while 66.4% of the returning migrants surveyed returned empty handed, for female migrants the percentage was much higher at 93%. The returning migrants also do not have social protection and have limited knowledge of and limited access to alternative livelihoods opportunities.



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the huge jobs and income loss, women are more likely than ever to be unemployed. Nonetheless, it is necessary to note that they are 

more likely than men to be employed in low-skilled, low-waged jobs with limited or zero labour law coverage, social protection, and employment contracts. At the same time more women than men are losing their paid jobs in the formal sector. Previous crises have shown that when women lose their jobs in greater numbers, traditional gender roles tend to be reinforced, and this is already happening in the present crisis. Further, following to the COVID-19 pandemic, many more people, both women and men, are required to work from home due to lockdowns and movement restriction. These have also resulted in an increase in unpaid care and domestic burden borne by women.

With low level of literacy, skills, and training, combined with gendered social norms, and direct and indirect discrimination in laws and workplace practices for women, there are structural barriers for women to realize their right to decent work. This is compounded by a lack of gender-disaggregated data and evidence to inform policy improvements. As a result, women are less represented in the formal employment, over-represented in low-paid informal employment as well as in unpaid care work, and at higher risk of labour exploitation and trafficking. Women’s economic contributions are not being translated effectively into increased social and economic equality. Ensuring effective protections for women workers requires integrating their voices into labour policies, labour market planning and workplace practices and support services. This in turn is essential to realizing women’s full social and economic equality in Bangladesh.

In line with the Prime Minister’s pledge to achieve gender parity in labour force by 2041, a comprehensive national strategy on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) is highly required to achieve gender parity in labour force participation. Taking into consideration the policy frameworks to promote inclusive growth, and such strategy should also address the issues in minimizing the gender gaps in employment, income and in ensuring the decent working conditions for both women and men. Along with supply-side issues for women’s labour force participation, there are equal needs for demand-side policies that stimulate employment and address other sectoral policies to contribute to the women’s economic empowerment of Bangladesh.


Overall Purpose and Specific Objectives: 

To lead on and provide substantial technical inputs in conducting a scoping study and review of existing laws, policies, and practices to draw recommendations that contribute to the development of an inclusive national strategy for women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in Bangladesh.

Duties and Responsibilities

Specific Objectives of the Task:

  • To conduct an assessment to provide an overview of the available policies, evidence, and practices to enhance women’s economic advancement in Bangladesh.
  • To map out the existing key stakeholders engaged in public, private and civil society sphere, who are critical for economic advancement of women in Bangladesh
  • To draw recommendations based on the review of all relevant policies, and laws for the decent employment of women and youth girls in the public sector and the private sector.

To analyze and synthesize the findings to devise policy recommendations and practical steps for achieving gender parity in the economic participation, access to economic resources and equal benefits from all economic sectors.


Guiding Questions:

The scoping study will explore the following but not limited to:

  1. Assess and explore the needs of developing comprehensive national strategy/roadmap on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in Bangladesh.
  2. In Bangladesh, there are several national policies/plans that support WEE to some extent. The key national policies and plan are including: (I) National Women’s Advancement Policy-2011, National Skills Development policy-2011, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Policy-2016, and the 8th Five Year plan for 2020-2025, etc. Building on this conducive policy environment, streamlining key elements of these policies in order to develop a dedicated, focused, and inclusive national strategy on WEE.
  3. What macro-economic policy options may be needed? What data gaps exist?
  4. What might be the possible challenges/bottlenecks in the current context in relation to achieve gender parity in economic engagement and equal benefits – political, administrative, and economic?
  5. What are the limitations of existing WEE programmes? What digital and social innovations might be upscaled/replicated?
  6. In the context of COVID-19, what will be the major focus of the WEE strategy to address the needs and aspiration of women and youth girls to cope up with the economic crisis and challenges?
  7. Keeping in view the challenges of Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation of Bangladesh, meeting the target of SDGs, meeting the vision of 2041 and digital innovation as one of the major focuses of the Government of Bangladesh, what will be the major strategy to achieve gender parity in economic independence of women and particularly youth girls in Bangladesh? 
  8. Which Government ministries can take lead on the WEE strategy/roadmap to develop and take it forward? What kind of partnership should be developed with the private sector and other key stakeholders?
  9. Are there any global evidence and good practices of WEE strategy that played a significant role in reducing the gender gaps as well as the gaps between and among women from different social/economic backgrounds?
  10. What are the limitations of the existing social protection mechanisms in terms of coverage for women in Bangladesh? This can include a preliminary analysis to capture coverage gaps for women, including those in the informal economy, under the existing social protection schemes as well as barriers and challenges that lead to their exclusion.
  11. What are the capacity, commitment, resources available and existing mechanisms that can support the implementation of WEE national strategy/roadmap by the Government of Bangladesh and other actors?


Scope of Work and Main Responsibilities:

Under the direct supervision of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme Analyst of UN Women Bangladesh and strategic guidance from Head of Office, UN Women Bangladesh, the International Consultant will work in close collaboration with UN Women and ILO technical team throughout the assignment.

In line with the above-mentioned guiding questions, the scope of work will include:

  • Conduct an in-depth desk review (i) to map and assess the relevance and gaps in existing policies, plans, programmes, and interventions of public, private, and non-governmental organizations for women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh, and (ii) to identify relevant national and international best practices that are replicable in the Bangladesh context. 
  • Identify and analyze inconsistencies and gaps in the relevant legislation and policies, particularly gaps and provisions in relation to international standards such as ILO Conventions and other relevant human rights instruments as well as national laws.
  • Organize and conduct key informant interviews with relevant stakeholders to triangulate the desk review findings on gaps, good practices, and entry points in terms of policy and practice in Bangladesh, for advocacy and programming.  
  • Analyze gender implications of key sectoral (economic) policies/strategies or instruments that are in place and develop a roadmap for UN Women in supporting the development of a national strategy for the economic empowerment of women, including making linkages with national and global gender equality objectives and commitments.
  • Based on the findings of the assessment and mapping, work in a team of UN Women and ILO to develop an action plan for the development of a robust national strategy for the economic empowerment of women, and share it to key stakeholders (government, the private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs), Women’s rights organizations) for their inputs and endorsement.
  • Provide substantial technical inputs to UN Women’s positioning in the “National Employment Summit” that will be organized by ILO in December 2021.
  • Prepare a final report (an analytical and comprehensive final report not exceeding 30 pages) to contribute to the development of a comprehensive national strategy on women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh.


Expected Deliverables


Tasks and Deliverables

 Working days

Target dates

Percentage of Payment


Prepare methodology, questionnaire for the scoping study, and workplan for the review.


Deliverables: Inception report with workplan

 2 days

By 20 October 2021






60% of the payment shall be paid upon submission of deliverables 1 to 3 and all acceptance and certified by the UN Women contract administrator


Desk review and key informant interviews with relevant stakeholders and mapping.

Deliverables:  1st draft of report with initial findings

  10 days

By 10 November 2021




Analysis of relevant policies/ plans to develop a roadmap to support the development of the national strategy for women’s economic empowerment.


Deliverables:  Final draft of report with analytical framework/tool

 6 days

By 30 November, 2021


Technical support (Drafting a Concept Note, technical brief, setting agenda, presentation), to prepare for the “National Employment Summit”.

Deliverable: Concept note, technical brief, power point etc.

 7 days




By 15 December 2021



40% of the payment shall be paid upon submission of deliverables 4 to 5 and all acceptance and certified by the UN Women contract administrator


Prepare a final report on scoping study (an analytical and comprehensive final report with recommendations and clear roadmap for next steps, not exceeding 30 pages).


-End of assignment report


Deliverables: Final report on scoping study, End of assignment report

5 days

By 10 January 2022


Total Days

30 days




Contract period and work location

The International Consultant will be home based but she or he might have to travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh and work at the UN Women Office if required. (The working modality will be determined based on the COVID-19 situation and the UN protocol and the Government rules and regulations.) Travel costs and Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) for authorized travel outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh will be provided, if required.


Duration of assignment:        25 October 2021 to 10 January 2022 (30 working days)


Supervision and performance evaluation: The International Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Programme Analyst, Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN Women Bangladesh.


Travel and DSA: If needed (subject to COVID-19 protocol for movement). (The working modality will be determined based on the COVID-19 situation and the UN protocol and the Government rules and regulations.)  Travel costs and Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) for authorized travel outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh will be provided, if required.




Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards.
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UN Women
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
  • Fulfills all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment


Functional Competencies:

  • Ability to pragmatically apply in-depth knowledge and experience of issues and practices in the fields of women's rights and gender equality in Bangladesh.
  • Strong communications skills and experience in facilitating high level session with government, CSOs, and the private sector.
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive and constructive attitude; Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities. 

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum Master’s degree in Economics, Law, Development Studies, Public Policy and Governance, or other Social Science related subjects.



  • Proven experience in conducting studies, research, assessment, summarizing advocacy points/recommendations on socio- economic issues from a gender perspective.
  • Minimum 10 years of experience or proven track record in working on macroeconomic issues (such as Women’s Labour Force Participation, Care economy, and informal economic sector, etc.)  with the public sector and the private sector.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience or proven track record in developing strategies and/or policies, tools, and instruments from a gender perspective.

Additional Capacity:

  • Previous strong record on writing research report at UN standard level.
  • Working experience with government and other key stakeholders in South Asia is an asset.
  • Strong background to deliver the planned results in a professional manner, and to ensure the quality of the product.


Language Requirement

Excellent Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.


Price Proposal and Schedule of Payments

Consultant must send a financial proposal based on Lump Sum Amount. The total amount quoted shall be all-inclusive and include all
costs components required to perform the deliverables identified in the TOR, including professional fee, only  and any other applicable cost to be incurred by the SSA in completing the assignment.
The contract price will be fixed output-based price regardless of extension of the herein specified duration. Payments will be done upon
completion of the deliverables/outputs and as per below percentages


Evaluation Method and Criteria:
Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodology.

Cumulative analysis-

The award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant up on Cumulative Analysis/evaluation and determined as:
1. Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
2. Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the
Only candidates obtaining a minimum 70 mark in technical evaluation will be considered eligible for financial evaluation.
Technical Criteria for Evaluation (Maximum 49 points out of 70)

Criteria-01; Educational Qualification- Max Point 10

Criteria-02; Proven experience on research, assessment on socio-economic issues from a gender perspective.- Max Point 15

Criteria-03; Number of years’ experience or proven track record on macroeconomic issues (such as Women’s Labour Force Participation, Care and informal economic sector etc.) with public and private sectors.- Max Point 20

Criteria-04; Number of years’ experience or proven track record in developing strategies and / or policies, tools, and instruments from gender perspectives.- Max Point 15

Criteria-05; Strong record on writing research report at UN standard level - Max Point 10

The total number of points allocated for the technical qualification component is 70. The technical qualification of the individual is evaluated based on following technical qualification evaluation criteria:

Only the candidates who have attained a minimum of 70% of total points (49) will be considered as technically-qualified candidate.

Interested candidates will submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications.

To be included as part of the proposal:

  • Updated CV
  • Personal History Form (P11)
  • Writing of similar work sample
  • Financial proposal
  • *The financial proposal should include: Daily rate of consultant for USD for 30 working days.  No need to quote for travel. If required UN Women will cover following their policy travel.    

Only applications including all items mentioned above will be considered.

NOTE: Documents required before contract signing:

UN Personal History Form;
Full medical examination and Statement of Fitness to work and travel for consultants with travel involved. (This is not a requirement for RLA contracts);
Security Certificate BSAFE: EN:
Individual subscribers over 65 years of age are required to undergo a full medical examination including x-rays at their own cost and obtaining medical clearance from the UN Medical Director prior to taking up their assignment;
Release letter in case the selected consultant is government official.
Only applications will all items mentioned above will be considered


Foot Note: 

[1] G7 Leaders Summit 2020: Background Paper on Themes of G7 Leaders Summits (2012-2019),

[2] Women as a force for accelerated and inclusive economic recovery post covid-19 in Asia and the Pacific, Action Brief, UN Women,

[3] Beyond covid-19: A feminist plan for sustainability and social justice, UN Women, 2021

[4] The High-Level Panel, comprised of experts from across business, government, and civil society, sets out key recommendations to address the structural challenges that impede women’s economic empowerment. These recommendations form the seven drivers of change and were selected because of their demonstrated impact in reducing gender gaps and improving economic outcomes for women. The High-Level Panel also recommends a multi-stakeholder engagement strategy to achieve women’s economic empowerment.

[5] | Human Development Reports (

[6] Bangladesh women are under-represented in all hourly wages: ILO,, 27 November 2018

[7] Proportion of females in informal non-agricultural employment was at 91.9% | Human Development Reports ( 

[8] Understanding the gender composition and experience of ready-made Garment (RMG) workers in Bangladesh, ILO wcms_754669.pdf (

[9] Women at Work (

[10] Overseas employment of female workers (1991-2020), BMET

Note: The individual consultant who does not meet the above eligibility criteria shall not be considered for further evaluation. Necessary documentation must be submitted to substantiate the above eligibility criteria

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