Fast Retailing, UN Women to empower female apparel workers

Fast Retailing, which owns Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo, and UN Women recently announced a global partnership to champion women’s rights and empowerment in the apparel sector—the first formal alliance between the UN body and an Asian apparel firm. The aim is to create an environment for women in this sector to play an active role in society.


Fast Retailing

This is essential for the sustainable growth of the entire supply chain, as well as to continue to offer products that meet customer expectations, said Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Fast Retailing.

“By focusing on women’s economic empowerment and providing women workers with access to specialized training and capacity-building, we are together taking a critical step to galvanize change in the garment industry,” said UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Under the new partnership, Fast Retailing and UN Women will together promote safe and secure work environments and advance empowerment for all women and girls, according to a press release from UN Women.

The scope of the partnership, which includes an investment from Fast Retailing of $1.6 million from 2019 to 2021, is to jointly implement a programme for female workers in garment factories in Asia, the company’s main production hub. The partnership also comprises a management training programme to further diversity at the company.

The joint project focuses on three areas: capacity-building for mid-career female workers; providing opportunities for female workers to acquire new skills; and raising awareness of the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment among men in decision-making positions.

In its first year, the project will target partner factories in Bangladesh, China and Vietnam.

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