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Gap Celebrates International Day of the Girl with P.A.C.E. Initiatives

Months after joining the Better Cotton Initiative, Gap Inc.’s most recent CSR effort looks to better women’s education throughout the world.

In celebration of Day of the Girl, the company announced on Tuesday an expansion of its education program, Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E), by adding new curriculum designed to help grow confidence and life skills for girls in communities.

Gap launched the program in 2007 to inspire the women who make the company’s clothes, and later expanded to communities beyond the factory setting.

“It is the personal journeys of the women involved with P.A.C.E. that inspire us and push us further,” said Dotti Hatcher, P.A.C.E executive director. “It is the stories we have heard and the women that we have worked with that have led to us creating the girls program.”

P.A.C.E. is pledging to advance the lives of 1 million females by 2020, and in order to reach its goal the company is adding new educational opportunities to girls 13-17 years old.

In conjunction with the expansion of the educational program, Gap has teamed up with Conde Nast to produce a 12-minute documentary-style film showing the lives of three women enrolled in the P.A.C.E. community program—Mary, Margaret and Puwaneshwary.

The film focusses on the three women who work on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka—a place where female literacy rates are typically low at 67 percent, compared to the country’s average of 90 percent, according to CARE Sri Lanka.

Directed by renowned filmmaker Vanessa Black with the 23 Stories x Conde Naste studio, the film debuted on Vogue’s digital channels in the U.S. and UK and relays a clear message that women are valuable.

“Conde Nast is known for its engaging visual storytelling and deep connection to culture, and with partners like Gap we’re extending that approach to branded content,” said Dirk Standen, 23 Stories editor-in-chief. “Here we wanted to tell the story of the P.A.C.E. program by focusing on the unique stories of some of the remarkable women involved, and Vanessa and her team achieved that in this beautiful, moving documentary.”