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Benetton Debuts Sustainable Livelihood Project for Female Garment Workers

Benetton Group is furthering its commitment to women that work in the apparel industry.

The Italian clothing brand, which recently revealed its first seamless knit pullover, has launched the Sustainable Livelihood Project, a two-year calendar of core initiatives focused on supporting home-based female workers in Pakistan and female workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garments (RMG) sector, as part of its Women Empowerment Program (WEP).

Originally established in October 2015, Benetton’s WEP highlights its sustainability mission. The program’s objectives are based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals set for 2020 and will achieve female empowerment and gender equality through five key initiatives: sustainable livelihood, access to health, quality education, non-discrimination, equal opportunities and the end of violence against women worldwide.

Launched under the umbrella of the WEP, the Sustainable Livelihood Project aims to provide female garment workers with the opportunity of fair work and wages. The project acts as a backbone for female garment workers, to help them achieve economic and social sustainability to support themselves and their families.

Starting in Bangladesh and Pakistan, Benetton will support the activities of UN Women, the United Nations organization for gender equality and the empowerment of women, over the next two years. Funding for the program will be focused on improving the work conditions of female garment workers and enforcing their labor rights in the global apparel industry.

Roughly 5,000 to 6,000 women working in Bangladesh’s RMG sector will benefit from the project. The workers will have access to training programs to advance their professional skills and get aid enrolling for basic financial products at local banks, like insurance, loans and savings accounts. The project will also hold Bangladesh RMG sector employers accountable for female garment workers’ safety on the job.

In Pakistan, the project will help roughly 1,500 women currently hired in Sialkot’s manufacturing district. The project will prioritize unemployed women, those who work at home, in the fields or who belong to ethnic minorities. Each woman will obtain an ID for voting, be able to open a bank account and enroll in training courses through the program. The program will also inform women about their employment and gender rights and encourage them to be involved in decision-making processes.