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ICRW Advisors Announces Partnership with Global Brands to Improve Working Conditions for Women Across Global Supply Chains

Economic Empowerment, Women in the Value Chain

Brands including Amazon, Nike, Primark, PUMA, and Ralph Lauren, among others, join the Gender Equity Worker Engagement Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2022

Credit: Naeem Mayet, Pexels. Two Women Surrounded with Green Fish Nets. Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam.

Today, ICRW Advisors announced a new partnership among leading brands focused on improving the working conditions for women across global supply chains. ICRW Advisors, the gender consulting arm of the International Center for Research on Women, will serve as the convener and primary advisory partner for this partnership. Lake Advisory, Labor Solutions, and Ulula will support the collaboratives efforts with advisory and technical expertise.

The partnership, named the Gender Equity Worker Engagement Group (GEWEG), is comprised of global brands that will work together to co-finance the creation of holistic worker voice and employee engagement tools with the intention of addressing the challenges women face across supply chains and advancing their wellbeing. The tools will be implemented in late 2022 in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China.

Member brands such as Primark see GEWEG as a pathway for meaningful investments embedding worker voice into their supply chain. “We are excited to learn about new improvements we can make in this area and within our programmes in support of our Primark Cares commitments to improve workplace conditions and opportunities for women workers across our supply chains.” said Matthew Davidson, Social Impact Executive at Primark.

Credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment/Thailand.

The GEWEG initiative will build upon ICRW Advisors’ gender self-diagnostic tool (SDT), which a number of brands have used in their global supply chain to generate a snapshot of their suppliers’ gender equity policies and practices, identify opportunities for high-impact gender-specific initiatives, and help inform new priority action areas to promote gender equity, such as compensation and pay, women’s health and safety efforts. Originally seeded by Nike, the tool is a free public good housed on the ICRW website and complements brands’ social auditing mechanisms and programming.  The partnership will also generate comprehensive trainings for factory managers and supervisors that will address topics such as recruitment and hiring, promotions and employee evaluations, skill building opportunities, mitigating gender-based violence and harassment, pay and compensation, and other institutionalized improvements. Ultimately, the  partnership is aimed at improving policies and practices based on workers’ lived experiences and factory realities for women.

The pivotal importance of supply chains for on-time product delivery came in sharp focus in the past couple of years, as COVID-19 shut down factories globally. Women lost their jobs and incomes, with a rippling impact on families and communities. Resilient supply chains are at the heart of consistent corporate product delivery, which lends itself to improved consumer loyalty. Prior to COVID, companies were already looking for ways to improve and refine policies and practices to ensure women’s wellbeing throughout their supply chains.

In 2021, PUMA cooperated with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) to run a Gender Equity Project in Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. By using this tool, suppliers can determine where there are opportunities to enhance gender integration through their policies and practices and then improve gender equity within their factories.

“This year, we continued our participation in the GEWEG. We want to learn from other brands on efforts (both new and old) they have made to improve their supplier performance on gender equality,” said Viola Wan, Teamhead Social Sustainability at PUMA Group. “With the inclusion of worker voice as a critical component, we hope to be able to identify and prioritize key focus areas for suppliers to make improvements on worker engagement and worker wellbeing practices and policies, and eventually scale up to more suppliers.”

Credit: Artem Beliaikin, unsplash. Bali, Indonesia.

ICRW Advisors and the corporate partners involved in GEWEG are focusing the first phase of work on collecting insights from women in their supply chains by December of this year.

“The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing barriers for women in the world of work and highlighted the pressing need for women’s inclusion in the solutions that impact them in supply chains,” said Lauren Murphy, Global Director of ICRW Advisors. “We look forward to bringing women’s insights forward and working with partners over time to craft strategic, long-term investments in the economic resilience and well-being of women in global supply chains.”

 

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ICRW Advisors is a global gender consultancy that guides clients with evidence-based, actionable insights and solutions to enhance intersectional social impact and drive business value. ICRW Advisors offers a range of services, including customized gender diagnostics, strategy design, capacity building, measurement, and evaluation to help clients become more gender equitable across their full range of operations. Clients include companies, investors, development agencies, foundations, and leading NGOs.

 

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