Gender Equality Programme in garment supply chains- Delhi/NCR


Change Alliance received Sandvik India Gender Award in July 2019, and as a result Sandvik partnered with Change Alliance and PHIA Foundation to work on Gender Equality Programme in 4 factories in Delhi/NCR focusing on gender sensitisation and training of factory level workers to facilitate safer workplace for women. Sandvik has supported the project towards women empowerment at workplace. The project leverages the tried and tested design of Gender Equality Programme (GEP), implemented by Phia Foundation and Change Alliance at over 25 garment factories across Delhi-NCR and Karnataka. GEP has been supported by leading international brands such as Marks and Spencer, Levi Strauss and Co, Superdry, Mothercare etc.

The primary focus of the project is to increase understanding at the factory level about gender equality, safe and gender sensitive workplace and legal mechanism to address issues related to sexual harassment. Considering the effect of COVID-19 on garment factories Sandvik agreed to revise the beneficiary target in September 2020 through an addendum in January 2021 revising the target of workers to be trained and also extended the duration of the project. During the COVID 19, Ready-made Garment (RMG) buyers and suppliers struggled to mitigate the economic repercussions of the coronavirus, and orders worth billions of dollars were cancelled. Millions of workers were retrenched, some without payment of wages for already completed work or severance pay.

Developed by the ILO-Sida Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project and the ILO-IFC Better Work programme, states that the imports by major buying countries from the garment-exporting countries in Asia—which employed an estimated 65 million workers (75% of total workforce) in 2019—had dropped by up to 70% in the first half of 2020, due to COVID-19. This is accompanied by a subsequent increase in workers’ layoffs and dismissals, while factories which have managed to reopen are now are operating at reduced workforce capacity.

Gender inequality and gender-based discrimination of women at the factory level was mitigated through sensitization and engagement aimed towards:

  • Senior and mid-level management
  • Supervisors, floor in-charge
  • Internal Committee Members
  • Peer Trainers
  • Factory workers

The project deliverables have been seriously impacted due to massive disruptions in the economy and industry on account of stringent healthcare measures and lockdowns across the country. Most garment factories have not been fully operational since lockdown. Due to the spread of COVID 19 pandemic globally and in India, with subsequent country wide total lockdown since March 25, 2020, our meetings with suppliers to take up Gender Equality Programme in their manufacturing units materialised only after July 2020.