Women Deliver is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. It’s in some ways an unlikely event for an apparel business to attend, let alone be invited to speak. However, in a country where the number of women in the workforce is dropping rapidly (from 34% to 24% in the last decade), our industry is a crucial source of economic empowerment for low-skilled women as well as an advocate for advancing women’s participation in work outside the home.
The triennial conference was held in Vancouver this June, with an attendance of over 8,000 delegates. Shahi’s head of Organizational Development, Anant Ahuja, was invited to speak on several panels to discuss the role of the private sector in supporting women’s empowerment and to announce some of our specific commitments. These include our commitment to extend P.A.C.E. training to 54,000 employees by 2024 as well as new commitment to provide reproductive health services as part of the Private Sector Action for Women’s Health & Empowerment led by the UN Foundation and others.
Shahi has always understood that women’s ability to care for their reproductive health and plan their family’s future is directly related to their personal and professional development – as well as their ability to contribute fully to the business and to society. We have now committed to launch a one-year pilot with the Family Planning Association of India (an affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation) to provide 9,000 factory workers and around 10,000 community members with awareness sessions and access to reproductive health services through our own factory dispensaries and a satellite community clinic.
Good Business Lab will undertake rigorous research to understand the outcomes of the pilot and are testing a range of implementation methodologies to increase effectiveness ahead of an expanded roll out across the business in the coming years. Watch this space for more updates on the launch and the research outcomes.