The W+ Standard

The W+ Standard is a unique certification label developed by WOCAN that endorses projects that create increased social and economic benefits for women participating in economic development or environment projects, including those that provide renewable energy technologies, time and labor saving devices, forest and agriculture activities, and employment opportunities.

The W+ is thus an innovative framework to quantify and monetize the social capital created by women, to recognize and reward their contributions to sustainable environments and communities.
The W+ measures women’s empowerment in six domains: Time, Income & Assets, Health, Leadership, Education & Knowledge and Food Security. It produces quantified women-benefit units that contribute towards post 2015 Sustainability Goals (SDGs), Climate Financing or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets.

Why a W+ Standard?

In much of the world, women comprise the majority of farmers and natural resource managers, yet are often excluded from decision-making and do not have an equal access to resources. Strengthening women’s empowerment will provide environmental, social and economic benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation, resilience and food security.

Governments, development agencies and investors are increasingly funding women’s empowerment/ gender equality, based on women’s rights and evidence of improved project outcomes. However, what is lacking for many is a robust means of measuring these outcomes in a way that can be simply communicated.

How will the W+ Standard be Implemented?

Existing or new projects should assess how the W+ can be integrated into their project.  Any type of economic development or environment project is potentially applicable: forest, renewable energy, clean water, agriculture, etc.  Projects must plan for and measure progress in at least one of the six domains: Income and Assets, Time, Education and Knowledge, Leadership, Food Security and Health.  Once projects are defined and underway their outcomes will be monitored and measured and verified by an external auditor that has been approved by WOCAN. Organizations/projects that have obtained satisfactory results will be issued W+ certificates for a specific number of units which can then be sold to corporations, investors and individual buyers. The W+ will also provide a new revenue stream to women and their groups through benefit sharing mechanisms required by the Standard.

For more information go to W+ Website:

Technical Assistance 

WOCAN provides technical assistance in building capacities for gender and women’s empowerment programming and monitoring and evaluation, and can guide Project Developers in each step of the W+ standard application. Project Developers will gain knowledge and expertise on how to measure women’s empowerment using the W+ Standard as a result of receiving this assistance.

More Detail: 

March 7, 2012
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Led Negotiations for the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security has been re-opened in FAO, Rome, 5 March, but envisaged to conclude on 10 March. Adoption will take place at a Special CFS session in May. Maris Gavino, Liaison for Rome, is following the...
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February 28, 2012
Gender disparities affect the CRPs' impact on rural poverty reduction and the improvement of sustainable resource management, food security, nutrition and health. The Network will work with the 15 CRPs, to address shared gender research issues, and investigate common entry points where an understanding of the role of women in the management of new technologies and natural resources is...
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The women pastoralists gathered in Mera, India, from November 21-26, 2010, representing 32 countries. They met to strengthen alliances and forward practical solutions to issues that affect them.This declaration was presented as a guiding political document to inform and support the development of pastoralist policies.
Published by a group at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). This paper synthesises evidence of the contributions that livestock make to the livelihoods of poor women in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and identifies factors that enhance or constrain livestock-related opportunities for women.
Huairou Commission Member Network and the Global Land Tool Network. This series of case studies highlights the land challenges of grassroots women, the capacity building strategies that have assisted to overcome these challenges, and consequent accomplishments of grassroots women’s organizations to access secure tenure and adequate housing in poor communities in Nepal, Honduras, Brazil, Russia,...
Prepared by Malcolm Langford with Cassandra Goldie in collaboration with UN-Habitat, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Huairou Commission, Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and Hakijamii Trust. The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is an international network that aims to take a more holistic approach to land issues. It aims to support people, at national and local levels, to use ‘...
This publication sets out GLTN’s initial thinking on how effective and genuine grassroots participation can be a fundamental element of development of land tools at scale. The publication suggests twelve criteria for ensuring and assessing quality grassroots participation, which are distilled from various case studies and lessons learned by partners. It then sets out four ways in which grassroots...
Land tools are evaluated from many angles. The assessment of a land tool from specifically a gender perspective is likely to complement, or be part of other, wider, evaluations. As such, it needs to be designed to specifically capture what is important in terms of gender, and be user-friendly enough to be used both by gender experts and non-specialists.
Equal property rights of women and men are fundamental to social and economic gender equality. However, women often face discrimination in formal, informal and customatry systems of land tenure. Around the world, women encounter larger barriers due to social customs or patriarchal tenure systems which prevent them from obtaining and holding rights to land.
This paper discusses the changing nature of pastoral land rights in Ethiopia through a detailed case study of the Boran people in Oromia Regional State. It sets the case within wider national land reform processes and makes recommendations regarding how civil society and other actors can best engage with land policy and law formulation and implementation processes to secure women’s land rights.
In this bibliography you will find selected press articles on biofuels, land rights in Africa and the global land grab compiled by Mokoro. The main section is dedicated to Africa, smaller sections cover the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
This paper strives to introduce a discussion of the gender dimensions into the growing debate on large-scale land deals. It addresses the current information gap on the differential gender effects of large-scale land deals through (1) an overview of the phases of large-scale land deals and discussion of related effects on rural men and women based on new literature on large-scale land deals and...