- Simone Preuss |
Irish value fashion retailer Primark has entered a partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to improve working conditions for garment workers in developing countries, specifically in Primark's five key markets Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Ethiopia and India where the DFID is also active.
“At Primark, we are committed to ensuring that the people who make our products work in good conditions, are treated properly and paid a fair wage. That's why we now have more than 60 people working for our Ethical Trade Team across our supply chain to ensure our high standards are met,” said Paul Lister, head of Primark's ethical trading team, while signing a letter of intent with Desmond Swayne, minister of state at DFID.
Problem areas that will be tackled through the partnership's combined networks, expertise and presence are the health and wellbeing of garments workers in the these markets, their national economic development, poverty and the empowerment of women and girls.
Given that in many of these markets, up to 80 percent of the garment workers are women or teenage girls, a large part of the programme will focus on creating positive change for women working in the developing world, according to a press release. This will include gender equality training in garment factories as well as the training of female nurses. Research has shown that providing these women with education and training is a driver of positive benefits for their families and the wider communities in which they work.
The new partnership is part of the UK government's efforts to improve the rights and wellbeing of girls and women globally and in every area of its international development work, which ranges from education to maternal and child health and from personal safety and security to economic and political empowerment.
Together, Primark and the DFID have identified three key areas that they will focus on: women's economic empowerment, market development and disaster response.