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Gap Expands PACE Initiative with Condé Nast Partnership

In honor of International Day of the Girl, Gap is teaming up with Condé Nast to foster women’s education on a global scale.

The American clothing retailer is working together with media company Condé Nast to expand its P.A.C.E. Initiative, which helps advance the education and life skills of female garment workers. To raise awareness about P.A.CE., Gap and Condé Nast created a documentary to showcase the stories of women that are participating in the initiative.

Developed by 23 Stories x Condé Nast studio and directed by globally renowned filmmaker Vanessa Black, the documentary will be available to view on Vogue’s digital channels in the U.S. and U.K. The 12-minute documentary profiles the narratives of three women enrolled in a P.A.C.E. community program— Mary, Margaret and Puwaneshwary. All three women work on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, a country where, according to CARE Sri Lanka, literacy rates for women are 67 percent compared to the nation’s average of 90 percent. The documentary sheds light on the international issue of women’s literacy rates and how P.A.C.E. community programs enable these women to pursue their educational dreams.

“Condé 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,” 23 Stories editor-in-chief Dirk Standen said. “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.”

Gap’s P.A.C.E. initiative was established in 2007 to provide life skills education and career training for women who made their apparel. In 2013, after achieving success with many participants, Gap decided to broaden the initiative to include women in community settings beyond factories. This year, P.A.C.E. also included a program for adolescent girls ages 13 to 17, in community settings and schools to help them obtain a better education and prepare for future careers. With P.A.C.E., Gap has impact the lives of over 45,000 women across 12 nations.

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

As part of Gap’s pledge to advance the lives of over 1 million women and girls through the initiative by 2020, the company is growing its community programs to include self-identity and self-confidence as two important focuses. In collaboration with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), the program will pilot in Haiti and India this fall and in Sri Lanka early 2017.