Gap launches initiative supporting women workers in supply chain, defines empowerment targets for 2025
On Monday, fashion retailer Gap Inc. announced the launch of Empower@Work, a collaborative platform supporting women workers in the global supply chain. On top of this, the San Francisco-based owner of brands including Gap, Athleta, Old Navy and Banana Republic further reinforced its commitment to empowering female garment workers by unveiling a set of ambitious gender equity targets for 2025.
Created in partnership with Business for Social Responsibility, ILO-IFC Better Work, and CARE, Empower@Work leverages knowledge, skills, and networks to foment collective action aiming to benefit women workers and gender equality in supply chains. In particular, the initiative seeks to implement programs that are sustainable, systematic and scalable.
“Gap Inc. is proud to be a founding member of Empower@Work, recognizing the opportunity it presents to reach millions of women with proven programming and tools they can use to uplift themselves and their families for generations to come,” said Athleta president and CEO Mary Beth Laughton in a release.
Empower@Work builds on Gap’s Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program, first launched in 2007. The program, which operates in communities and factories in 17 countries where Gap’s clothes are manufactured, aims to provide women workers with the skills they need to reach their full potential.
According to the company, the program has already reached 800,000 women and girls, and is on track to achieve its goal of 1 million participants by 2022.
As it looks to continue this progress, Gap outlined a range of women’s empowerment targets for 2025 on Monday. Notably, the company committed to ensuring that 100% of its strategic factories are participating in Empower@Work within the next five years. In particular, the group’s namesake Gap brand and Athleta activewear business said that 100% of their factories will be taking part in the program by 2025.
The company’s other gender-focused targets for 2025 include implementing gender-equitable workplace committees and achieving gender parity at supervisor level at 100% of its strategic factories.
In addition, according to the retailer, 100% of its factories will have prevention and response management systems and training to address gender-based violence within the next five years.
These newly announced targets are part of Gap’s wider commitments to social sustainability. The company also runs a Workplace Cooperation Program and a Workforce Engagement Program – developed with Better Work and Verité, respectively – as well as a Supervisory Skills Training Program, which aims to improve dialogue between workers and supervisors in the retailer’s factories.
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