The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages stakeholders to attend virtual workshops to develop an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on the definition of a "woman-owned business" and guidance on its use. The workshops will take place on October 14-16, 2020,and December 14-16, 2020, replacing the previously scheduled in-person events postponed due to COVID-19. The organizer, the Swedish Institute for Standards (SIS), has put in place a digital process to develop the IWA, enabling the workshop meetings to be held virtually.
The development of the IWA will provide a definition of a "woman-owned business" and guidance to businesses, statistical agencies, governments, and international initiatives on how to use the definition. While the IWA aims to lower entry barriers for women business owners to public and private procurement opportunities, it may ultimately spur a broader discussion and additional efforts towards further standardization work in gender equality.
The IWA stems from a July 2019 proposal from SIS.