7th March, 2019

Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia to empower women in its supply chain

Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia: CARE visits Group's global support centre in Geelong
Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia: CARE visits Group's global support centre in Geelong
©Abir Abdullah / CARE: Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia
© Abir Abdullah / CARE: Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia
©Abir Abdullah / CARE: Cotton On Group partners with CARE Australia

The Group has commenced an Australian retail industry-first partnership with CARE Australia; an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty with a special focus on women and girls, to deliver a bespoke program to develop the life and leadership skills of women garment workers with the goal of advancing their careers.

In February 2019, the Group and CARE Australia embarked on a two-year pilot project which will see 2,200 garment factory workers, particularly women in key supplier factories in Bangladesh, undergo a unique training program developed in consultation with garment workers and factory owners.

The training extends to supporting the management and line supervisors of the participating factories to shape their role in creating an enabling environment for women workers.

The Empowering Women Workers in Bangladesh project aims to increase the number of women garment workers in leadership roles in the participating factories. A significant task, given that over 85% of the four million garment factory workers in Bangladesh are women, with less than 3% employed in management positions.

CARE has developed a program in collaboration with the Group to deliver:

  • Foundation Training such as communication skills, managing work and self-care, gender awareness and management of stress
  • Advanced Training including health and nutrition, leadership training, career advancement and legal empowerment
  • Supervisor Training covering understanding gender equality, promoting workers’ wellbeing, and communication skills
  • Management Training including women’s empowerment, building a worker friendly environment and team building

Sally Moyle, CARE Australia CEO commented,

“I am thrilled that CARE is working in partnership with the Cotton On Group to support women to be leaders in their workplaces. This important initiative across three garment factories in Bangladesh will contribute to CARE’s global goal to improve the working lives of eight million women in Asia by 2021. Our Dignified Work programs like this one enable the economic empowerment of women by promoting decent working conditions, tackling the barriers that women face to achieve equality in the workplace, and supporting women to take control of their own lives.”

“Australian businesses have an important role to play in improving the lives and rights of women in their overseas supply chains. It’s wonderful that the Cotton On Group shares our vision and is increasing its investment in this work. We are excited to partner with it and bring CARE’s longstanding expertise in women’s empowerment in Asia to the factories that supply iconic Australian brands like Cotton On” added Moyle.

Alice Polglase, General Manager of Risk & Sustainability at the Group said, “The Group is incredibly excited about the partnership with CARE Australia to deliver this training that is in line with our people first approach and to continually improve our supply chain.

“The Group has been working collaboratively with CARE Australia for over two years to ensure we deliver a program that is aligned to our purpose to make a positive difference in people’s lives. We have consulted with factory owners and workers to ensure the training suits their particular needs” she said.

To learn more about how the Group is doing Good for their people, see the ethics and sustainability channel, The Good, here.

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