A recent evaluation by the University of Oxford and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health reveals that training and support for women in supervisory positions increase productivity in garment factories.
The assessment, which focused on the Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) program funded by the European Union and implemented by Better Work, was presented in Dhaka.
The assessment was conducted across 27 garment factories in Dhaka and Chattogram and showcased the strong impact of the GEAR program, particularly in improving line efficiency and increasing gender equality.
GEAR partnered with Global apparel brands such as H&M, M&S, Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, and VF Corporation to implement this program in their supplier factories and helped ensure high completion and promotion rates.
Over 600 female operators in 78 factories since 2016 with technical skills and skills required for supervisory roles, with nine out of ten participants completing the training program and two-thirds being promoted to supervisors.
Trainees at the supervisory level are experiencing a substantial increase in earnings compared to their non-trainee counterparts. They earn 40% more than similar workers who were not selected for the training program.
Moreover, these trainees have the potential for additional promotions, allowing them to climb higher up the management ladder.
According to Professor Christopher Woodruff, the lead researcher of the study on development economics at the University of Oxford, the trainees in the GEAR program have proven to be highly effective as supervisors.
The lines managed by these trainees are 4% more efficient than those managed by non-trainee supervisors. This efficiency gap also widens as the trainees gain more experience in their supervisory roles.
Sewing operators on GEAR-trainee-managed lines were also reported to have higher levels of well-being and more satisfactory working environments because supervisors were showing a more cooperative and supportive management style, according to the study.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) expresses joy in acknowledging the achievements of a program aimed at advancing women’s career prospects in garment factories.
As women constitute around 80% of the total workforce in this industry, this program marks a significant milestone in empowering them professionally. Wagner Albuquerque de Almeida, the IFC’s global director for manufacturing, agribusiness, and services, emphasizes the importance of this program as a crucial initial step towards creating upward mobility for women.
Almeida further highlights the significance of a skilled labor force for the sustained growth of the garment industry. With the industry striving to access the widest range of available talents, the program plays a crucial role in meeting this requirement.