Schijvens started a women’s empowerment program in 2022 in collaboration with Zeeman, research expert Rabia, Kaarvan Crafts Foundation and 3 Pakistani suppliers, in which research is conducted into gender equality and women’s empowerment, and a group of women are given the opportunity to find a place in the labor market, with all the tools and given space to develop themselves in work and personal skills.
The aim is to develop a program for women in the clothing industry, giving them every opportunity to gain employment, but also develop life skills, such as reading and writing, and achieve greater self-confidence. In addition, all stakeholders are also involved in this project, such as male colleagues, husbands and mothers-in-law, to understand and reduce the resistance of women’s social environment. Supporting factories to facilitate a safe workplace for all genders is also included.
The first research phase has now been completed, in which all program activities have been mapped, including the collection of best practices and risks through interviews and focus group discussions, with both women and men. In January, we want to start the implementation phase, where a total of 90 women will gain work experience in the three conventional factories, and will be given all the tools to develop life-related skills through a training program through Kaarvan Crafts Foundation. In addition, care is also taken to ensure a good and safe workplace, as well as facilitating necessities such as transport to work and childcare, so that the women can get off to an optimal start.
The program will run until January 2026, with the aim of making it a continuous program, so that we can offer a new group of women and hopefully also form a best practice for others, so that step by step there is more equality between men and women.