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Standards and Circular Economy

Incorporating a gender perspective in standards for sustainability

27 September 2023 13:00 - 15:00


Event Flyer

Meeting report available here

Increasingly there is evidence that women are more vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Consequently, efforts to improve sustainability can be seen as vital to achieving gender equality and women’s participation in developing solutions is vital to achieving a truly sustainable future.

The circular economy seeks to increase efficiencies by maintaining the value of products, materials and resources within the economy as long as possible. This can be done by a number of means:

  • Maintaining the product / prolonging its life
  • Reusing or redistributing products after initial use
  • Refurbishing or remanufacturing to a new product
  • Recycling the materials to be reused


Taking a circular approach to products can potentially unlock a series of economic, environmental and societal benefits. New production models can create new market opportunities. And these circular approaches can bring societal changes to how we consume and how we use products. Optimal policy solutions would require rethinking the product at its inception in order to accommodate for repair, maintenance, reuse, remanufacturing or recycling. Standards can be used at the product design phase to ensure that these considerations are integrated into the resulting product and thus contributing to the circular economy.

However, as the gender-responsive standards work within UNECE Working Party 6 has demonstrated, standards in product design can potentially affect women differently from men. Similarly, the products themselves may have different benefits for women and for men and the societal changes resulting from a circular approach may have further differences of impacts for women and for men. An understanding of the gender considerations in circular economy standards could potentially:  

  • unlock opportunities to empower women with new job opportunities
  • address current inequalities within the circular economy
  • make the circular economy more effective and sustainable
  • and ultimately create a better trading environment for the economy.


US statistics underline that up to 93 per cent of the global trade involves technical regulations and standards. If such standards and regulations are not gender responsive, then it may further exacerbate gender inequalities and the gender gap.


This webinar concentrated on the intersection of circular economy, standards and gender. It explored societal changes resulting from sustainable approaches and how these may impact women and men differently as well as how the circular economy engages and affects women and men differently. The webinar provided insight on where standards can contribute to a more gender inclusive approach to the circular economy and explore the potential impact of gender-responsive standards in support of a circular economy.

Target Audience

Experts on circular economy. Experts on technical regulations/standards. Experts on gender and inclusion. Experts on a sustainable future for all.



  • Mansha Marwah, Gender and Sustainability specialist, Germany [Bio]


  • Elisabeth Tuerk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE [Bio]
  • Michelle Parkouda, Manager, Research Standards Council Canada; Chair of ToS-GRS [Bio]

Opening keynote

  • Daniela Garcia, Deputy Permanent Representative at the Mission of Ecuador to the WTO, UNCTAD, WIPO and ITC [Bio]

Needs for standards on circular economy and incorporating a gender perspective

  • Peter Morfee, Principal Technical Advisor, WorkSafe New Zealand [Bio][PPT]
  • Mercedes Mira Costa, Senior Program Manager, HP Inc[Bio][PPT]

Closing keynote

  • Una Murray, Director, University of Galway [Bio][PPT]