The Benetton Group, an Italian based fashion brand, has been knitting a fabric of empowerment since they launched their Women Empowerment Program (WEP) in October 2015. With a strong belief that gender equality is necessary to building a sustainable world for everyone, Benetton’s WEP aims at “supporting the empowerment and legitimacy of women around the world.” The brand solidifies its commitment to all humans, with the launch of their Sustainable Livelihood Project in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Benetton’s newest project has a two-year calendar of initiatives designed to empower home-based female workers in Pakistan and women in the ready-made garments sector in Bangladesh. Through these initiatives, Benetton will fund projects that ensure the safety of working women and encourage their social and economic independence.
In Pakistan, the program will support 1,500 women living in the manufacturing district of Sialkot, specifically those who are unemployed, working at home or in the fields, and who belong to religious or ethnic majorities. It will help women obtain an ID, allowing them to vote, and increase their economic independence by helping them open a bank account and gain access to training courses. Through the program, they will inform women and their families about their rights and the importance of their involvement in the decision-making process. In addition, the initiative will help women acquire formal employment and partner with local textile factories to make workplaces more welcoming to women.
In Bangladesh, Benetton will support 5,000 – 6,000 women currently employed in the ready-made garment sector by organizing training courses to strengthen their professional skills. They will also help them obtain loans insurances and savings accounts. Benetton also hopes to create a safer workplace for these women by opening a dialog with their employers.
Benetton’s Sustainable Livelihood Project is part of a widespread commitment to sustainability that is at the core of the company. Their WEP has priorities beyond sustainable livelihood, including non-discrimination and equal opportunity, quality education, healthcare, and fight against violence. These priorities are backed up by concrete goals such as ending “all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres” by 2030. In addition to such initiatives, the clothing brand ensures the production of quality products made without the use of toxic chemicals or dangerous materials. Benetton’s unique identity boasts “clothing for all humans” and successfully achieves this identity through their product and active initiatives.