Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement Program (P.A.C.E.)

In 2007, Gap, Inc. launched the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program, designed to support women globally who work in the apparel industry.

This support included opportunities to build skills, participate in technical training, and advance in the workplace. P.A.C.E. program was delivered to vendor facilities starting that year and then expanded to community settings in 2013, when both women and adolescent girls could get involved with the program.

The initial phase of the program reached five countries across Asia – which expanded to seven – and directly impacted over 20,000 female garment workers.

Gap, Inc. brought ICRW into the collaborative to support curriculum development and evaluate the impact of the program across all countries where the program was being implemented. Gap Inc. and ICRW joined Bangalore-based NGO Swasti Health Resource Centre to design and develop the program over the course of the first 18 months. This curriculum included lessons around communication, time and stress management, decision-making and problem-solving.

From 2009-2013, ICRW  conducted evaluations at six factory sites – two in India and one each in Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and China. Research findings from these multi-country evaluations demonstrated that P.A.C.E. was an effective, sustainable and scalable model, yielding high returns for women, their families and the businesses where they work.

"I have learned how to communicate effectively. Now I can solve any problem in the workplace by discussing it with the supervisor and line chief. Before P.A.C.E. I could not clearly discuss problems with my husband. Now I do not hesitate to talk to him and clearly express any idea or problem." — Female garment worker in Bangladesh

Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. program - Meet San (2012)

P.A.C.E. Program Expansion

In 2013, Gap, Inc. began to expand the program, and at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative meeting, the company announced an ambitious goal to extend its workplace education program to one million women and girls. As of April 2021, over 800,000 women in 17 countries had participated. Gap, Inc. expects to reach or exceed its 2015 goal by 2022.

Recently, Gap, Inc. connected with ICRW’s business advisory practice to facilitate a discussion with representatives from the International Labor Organization’s Better Work program and BSR’s HERproject in the interest of accelerating progress toward the 2015 goal.

Specifically, the collaborative started exploring ways to increase the effectiveness of the training programs by harmonizing curriculum and coordinating implementation. Further, the organization representatives discussed opportunities for influencing policy and strategy regarding workplace women’s empowerment programs.

P.A.C.E. has now been implemented in 400 factories in 17 countries and will reach more in the coming years.



"Thanks to the training, I feel confident to communicate openly with my supervisor and colleagues on any issue related to work assignments or bonuses, and I seek help from them rather than keep silent and feel displeased as I did before." — Female garment worker in Vietnam

P.A.C.E. Adds WASH Curriculum

In an effort to address water challenges and strengthen women’s lives, P.A.C.E. recently stated integrating a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) curriculum into the program. The P.A.C.E. WASH curriculum is part of Gap, Inc.’s core curriculum and is key to a larger Women + Water strategy, which “seeks to address water issues through the lens of people and human rights.”

ICRW has joined, CARE India and the Institute for Sustainable Communities to work together to improve the health and well-being of women and girls, starting in India. The ICRW Asia team is supporting these efforts, providing insights as the WASH program is developed and expanded.