Learning Activity 2.2
Exploring gender-specific elements of women’s employment in global supply chains


Existing employment issues in global supply chains may have different impacts on men and women workers. Trainers will provide an opportunity for participants to relate to their own personal experience (and refer to local and national situations) and exchange views with other participants in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the gender facets of each issue.

Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that encourages people to develop their own understanding and then share knowledge with the group as a whole.

Suggested time

  • 90 minutes

Target group

Representatives of:

  • Lead companies aiming to improve supply chain organization.
  • Global, national and local employer organizations and trade unions.
  • National and local government responsible for legislative implementation and factory inspection.
  • Multi stakeholder initiatives and social auditors.
  • Global, national and local NGOs and women’s organizations.
  • Factory and farm workers.


  • Develop a deeper and shared understanding of existing gender differences in employment and working conditions in global supply chains.
  • Stimulate discussion on issues about which participants may have very different views and personal experiences.
  • Allow an in-depth consideration of existing problems, introducing a gender perspective.


  • Prepare a series of cards/sheets each one presenting an assumption on employment and working conditions in global supply chains, based on the contents of Briefing 2. You may use the Summary of key points or develop different statements, according to context.
  • Each issue represents a ‘piece’ of a larger picture of working conditions in global supply chains.
  • Collect additional sources of information for the working session, including visual presentations.
  • Provide reflection questions that will guide the participants through all the important learning aspects of the ‘piece’ including background information, context, actors and consequences.
    A typical reflection question could be:
    Read the assumption on the card(s) given to your group. Reflect on your personal experience of the issue, referring to local and national data and situations of which you are aware. Then, try and achieve consensus on whether or not men and women are affected differently from these issues, how and why.


  • A room large enough to accommodate several groups.


  • Cards with statements
  • Flip charts or post-it and space for posting
  • Markers
  • Tape (if needed)


With more than eight or ten participants:

Step 1 (suggested time: 30 minutes)

  • Divide participants into smaller groups, give each group one or more cards and ask participants to discuss the issues presented in the cards, focusing on the differences in treatment and opportunities for women and men.
  • Participants should be encouraged to express their opinions freely, to refer to local and national situations they are knowledgeable about and to relate to their own personal experience.
    Each group will analyse different issues.
    Allow each team to examine their ‘piece(s)’ separately, using the resources or tools provided (such as brief articles, images or access to the internet).
  • Instruct the groups to identify someone to take notes, and someone to keep time. This will ensure that the activity is recorded and that all questions are covered within the time limit. Then close the discussion for a report back.

Step 2 (suggested time: 45 minutes)

  • Each group has 5 minutes to debrief in plenary. The report back between groups provides information to all the participants about each of the issues examined. Instruct each group to report back on their observations and key reflections clearly and comprehensively.
  • 15-20 minutes final discussion: to ensure that the gender aspects have been correctly addressed and that the group is now aware of existing gender differences in impact and conditions of the various issues discussed.

How to adapt it

  • With a small number of participants, all (or many of) the issues may be discussed in plenary.
  • The facilitator can use questions from the hand-out (rather than giving each participant a copy) to stimulate discussion and brainstorming.
  • The facilitator guides the discussion to ensure that the gender aspects are correctly addressed and that the group becomes aware of existing gender differences in impact and conditions of the various issues discussed.

See the link in Resources below for original exercise and tips.


  • Instruct the working groups to use visual debriefing resources.
  • A double debrief can be effective: in a second debrief, an expert is present to make any corrections or additions to the discussion.