Better Work launches intervention to empower women in the garment industry in Madagascar

2 Jun 2023

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar – A pilot implemented by Better Work Madagascar aims to improve women’s managerial capacity, including leadership and supervisory skills, to increase their participation in leadership positions in the country’s garment industry. The intervention was launched in the country on April 5.

A total of 25 female managers and supervisors from five Better Work partner factories in Madagascar will benefit from capacity building, coaching, and training delivered by Better Work staff. The intervention has been adapted from the Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) capacity building programme, a joint International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) initiative.

GEAR is a global programme that promotes career progression opportunities for women in the garment industry, and has been implemented in countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. This innovative training initiative has made significant strides in the strengthening and improvement of women’s economic potential in their factory and community.

Better Work Madagascar Country Programme Manager Anne-Laure Henry-Greard introduces the new intervention targeting women working in the garment sector.

In his speech at the launch of the training, ILO Country Director for Madagascar Coffi Agossou stressed the need to encourage women to pursue their career ambitions by providing them with the necessary skills and confidence. He added that it also had “positive consequences on their efficiency at work and enterprise productivity in general. Improved efficiency and access to employment are essential elements of garment sector competitiveness. Therefore, there is not only a social but also an economical argument to promote more women in leadership positions.”

Gender equality is a key focus of Better Work Madagascar, and industry-wide, it has proven to be crucial to achieving inclusive growth and an enabling environment ensuring decent working conditions and full participation in the country’s social and economic development.

“IFC is committed to supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the garment industry in Madagascar to foster equity and inclusive growth,” said Marcelle Ayo, IFC’s Country Manager for Madagascar. “IFC’s partnership with ILO on the Better Work programme will boost women’s leadership capacity while promoting a sustainable and competitive garment industry.”

Independent evaluations of Better Work’s impact in other countries where it operates have shown that good working conditions and business performance are intrinsically linked. They are essential for maintaining business relationships with buyers in the largest markets, in a global environment where transparency and traceability in the supply chain are becoming paramount. Further, Better Work research shows that training to improve women’s empowerment and workplace leadership must be complemented by addressing social norms. This continues to be a key focus of Better Work including in Madagascar, in concert with trainings like GEAR.

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