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Fashion firms help female supply chain workers shatter glass ceiling, says GlobalData


supply-womenFashion industry players are increasingly striving to empower the women that make their clothes in a movement that is gathering momentum along the supply chain, writes GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Beth Wright, Apparel Correspondent for GlobalData, comments: “With women making up the vast majority of the global garment workforce, yet often in the most low-paid roles, apparel firms from suppliers to brand and retailer heavyweights are working to turn the tide and empower these integral members of the supply chain by providing the tools and training they need in order to hold their own in – and in some cases lead – the workplace.”

Recent examples include a new sustainable and zero-waste garment finishing plant established by denim finishing technology specialist Jeanologia in partnership with apparel manufacturer Anish India Exports (AIE) which is said to be the first of its kind to be driven and managed by women.

In Ghana, a planned model apparel manufacturing factory is set to challenge the sector’s gender norms by placing women in supervisory positions and ensuring more than half of the facility’s middle managers are female.

At brand level, Danish fashion retailer, Bestseller, recently announced more than 100,000 women in its Tier 1 factories have completed or are currently working on empowerment programmes, related to health, finances, and/or equality – some four years ahead of its 2025 target. While VF Corp, owner of brands including Vans and The North Face, committed to the Women’s Empowerment Principles at the end of last year in a move it said will further its existing programmes to achieve gender equality across its business worldwide.

Elsewhere, the first consumer programme from Fashion Makes Change (FMC) sees the organisation work with fashion brands and retailers to encourage shoppers to round-up their purchases to the nearest dollar to help drive female empowerment and education. Proceeds will support the Empower@Work Collaborative which works to drive collective action for the benefit of women in global supply chains.

Wright adds: “Steps to empower the women behind our clothes are to be applauded and facilities such as those in Ghana and India represent the future of the sector, with women smashing through the glass ceiling that has been above their heads for so many years.

“However, while these are success stories and provide hope for a more inclusive industry, fashion firms cannot afford to rest on their laurels. This is a matter that needs the strength of the entire sector behind it to truly move the needle for the women that manufacture its clothes.”