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: 

August 14, 2015
Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 Presents a Bold Vision for Women and Girls Advocates Gear Up for Work to Come UNITED NATIONS—The Women’s Major Group, made up of more than 600 women’s organizations and networks from around the world, recognizes the historic agenda for global sustainable development that 193 governments agreed to on Sunday. At the center of this broad...
In programs:
July 22, 2015
The W+ Standard measured time savings generated by the Indonesia Domestic Biogas Programme (IDPB) for 4500 women in two selected provinces: East Java and West Nusa Tenggara. The IDBP is implemented by Hivos, in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV). Hivos has assisted more than 13,000 households to install...
In programs: The W+ Standard
July 29, 2015
Institute of Environment and Water Management (IEWM) with the support from WOCAN organized the Women Leadership Circle in Agriculture & NRM (WLCAN) at Nyandarua County in Kenya on 17 July. The objectives of the forum To strengthen women farmers organizing and capacity to engage with the county governments and other professionals on issues of interests to them To enhance...
July 15, 2015
Jeannette Gurung attended the tenth meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund which was held from 6 to 9 July in Songdo, Republic of Korea. She joined Liane Schalatek of The Heinrich Boell Foundation and other civil society representatives to observe the Board’s discussions on projects and programs.The Board also discussed growing the Fund’s network of accredited entities,...
July 6, 2015
Nisha Onta, Knowledge Management Coordinator, shared publications by WOCAN and our partners onGender and Climate Change at the information booth during the Regional Forum on Climate Change (RFCC) - Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Societies: Bridging Science, Practice and Policy. The Forum was organized by the Asian Institute of Technology in collaboration with the French Ministry of...
July 10, 2015
Nisha Onta, Knowledge Management Coordinator, presented the W+ Standard during the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on 'Challenges and opportunities towards rural women's empowerment Agrarian transformations and the changing role of women in agriculture and food systems held on 7-8 July in Bangkok. The objectives of the workshop were to foster...
September 30, 2015
When you drink a cup of coffee, you’re likely enjoying coffee beans that were grown and harvested by women farmers from rural areas. No matter the price you pay for your latte, relatively few dollars make it back to these women who are the providers of food, education and healthcare for their families and communities. It’s challenging to determine how to best create...
In programs: The W+ Standard
July 2, 2015
Domestic public finance In 2013, UN Women supported 65 countries to strengthen gender equality priorities in their national, sectorial and local development plans and budgets. In 24 countries, national planning documents incorporated priorities and budgets on gender equality and women’s empowerment [1]. At the national level, resources allocated to address gender equality...
June 19, 2015
Nisha Onta, Knowledge Management Coordinator, attended the consultation meeting on ‘Building a Platform for the Promotion of Women’s Rights and Women Participation in Governance in Thailand’ organized by the Foundation for Women in collaboration with USAID Sapan Program on 18 July in Bangkok. The objectives of the meeting were to share the findings of the assessment...


IFAD's Gender Desk and Environment and Climate Division (ECD) is hosting a talk with Dr Jeannette Gurung, Executive Director of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) and Annina Lubbock to discusse the W+ Standard and the relevance and opportunities for IFAD.
In programs: The W+ Standard
A new World Bank report, Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity, distills vast data and hundreds of studies to cast important new light on the constraints women and girls face worldwide, from epidemic gender-based violence to biased laws and norms that prevent them from making decisions about their own lives. These constraints are not only fundamentally unjust but...
In programs: The W+ Standard
On 15-17 May, Maria Lee, WOCAN Program Coordinator, will attend the Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives of the forum are: Inform and capacitate civil society participants on sustainable development at the global and regional levels, and onthe opportunities and modalities for engaging these processes; Dialogue...
On 12 May, Jeannette will be speaking about WOCAN and the W+ Standard at a talk program organized by World Bank's Gender and Rural Development Thematic Group (GENRD)in Washington, DC, USA.The session is chaired by Eija Pehu,Science Adviser and Gender Anchor, AES, World Bank and W+ Advisory Council Member. The discussants are Klas Sander, Senior Environmental Economist...
In programs: The W+ Standard
On 19-23 May, Maris Gavino, WOCAN Liason, will participatein the negotiations of the Draft 1 CFS Principles for Responsbile Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI) in FAO, Rome.The principles that will be agreed on will be presented for adoption during the 41st Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October 2014.
On 13-15 May, Jeannette will be one of the discussant at the session on "Filling the Gaps- Early efforts to address the gender gap in REDD+ programming" during the Gender & REDD+ Technical Workshop in Washington, DC, organized by IUCN, USAID and in collaboration withWEDO, the UN-REDD programme and REDD+ SES. The session is moderated byAndre Mershon (USAID), and the other...
On 28-29 April, Maris Gavino, WOCAN Liaison, will participate in the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) discussions on the Civil Society Maximum Document that will be part of the process of developing the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI). The CSM will take place preceding the CFS Open Ended Working Group meeting on RAI...
On 9-10 July, Jeannette will be attending thePolicy Advisory Committee of the FAO Project "Incentives for Ecosystem Services in Agriculture" in Rome, Italy.The role of the members of the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) is to advise the project on identifying innovative policy-relevant issues, allowing for a supportive and enabling policy framework for ecosystem services...
On 30 June to 1 July, Maris Gavino, WOCAN Liason in Rome, will attend thethe eleventh conference "Policies against Hunger" which will take place at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.The conference will seek to contribute to promoting the “Principles for responsible agricultural investments”, due to be adopted by the Committee on World Food Security Plenary in...
Root Capital invites you for a webinar on April 29 at 1:30 PM EST.The webinar will provide a sneak peek of Root Capital’s soon-to-be-released issue brief:Applying a gender lens to agriculture: Farmers, leaders, and hidden influencers.The issue brief lays out Root Capital’s experience applyinga gender lens to its core work of providing loans and financial...
In programs: The W+ Standard


The IUCN Global Gender Office has developed new Environment and Gender Index (EGI) datasets in preparation of UNFCCC COP21. EGI Brief: Gender & Mitigation Actions-Key data on gender in mitigation initiatives, a gender assessment of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCS), and gender trends in nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAS) and low-emission...
TheGlobal Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeksto measure one important aspect of gender equality: therelative gaps between women and men across four keyareas: health, education, economy and politics. The Indexpoints to potential role models by revealing those countriesthat—within their region or income group—are leaders in...
The banking crisis that erupted in 2007 triggered a massive drop in investment, output andemployment not only in Europe and the United States, which were at the epicentre of thecrisis, but in other parts of the world as well.While much of the response by policy makers andgovernments has focused on bailing out the financialsector (‘Wall Street’) and, to a...
This whitepaper hopes to serve as a thought leadership piece and guideto help grantmakers realize how adopting a gendered approach will createdeeper impact and result in improved returns. It intends to put the onus onthe givers (funders) and doers (non-profits) to drive conversation and actionon the critical role gender plays in the socio-economic development of India;...
In programs: The W+ Standard
By Melinda French Gates "The development field needs to be more serious about gender inequities and women’sempowerment. By ignoring gender inequities, many development projects fail to achievetheir objective. And when development organizations do not focus on women’sempowerment, they neglect the fact that empowered women have the potential totransform...
"This research applies a ‘gender lens’to social businesses to facilitatewomen’s economic empowermentand make markets more inclusive. Itsoutcomes, while preliminary, tend to confirm what the World Bank pointedout in “Investing in women is smarteconomics” (2006): introducinggender-integration strategies in social...
In programs: The W+ Standard
Created for policymakers, programmers, and practitioners at all levels, Roots for the Future is a compilation of the latest information and evidence on gender and climate themes, as well as strategies for ensuring climate change decision-making, policies, and programmes are gender-responsive. Case studies are woven throughout the text, supporting readers to find targeted recommendations to...
In programs: The W+ Standard
Jeannette Gurung was one of the panelists discussing ending poverty in all its forms and achieving gender equality, during the Responsible Business Forum on 4 November in Singapore. Watch the video of the session:
In programs: The W+ Standard
This paper reviews different approaches to incorporating gender equality objectives into resilience projects and to monitoringgender equality outcomes. It uses a sample of project proposals from DFID’s Building Resilience to Climate Extremes andDisasters programme (BRACED) and makes suggestions on ways to promote effective and consistent practice across thefull range of...