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Media Contact: Americas and Asia Pacific

Eva Dienel

Associate Director, Communications
+1 415 984 3233
media@bsr.org


Media Contact: Europe, Middle East, Africa

Stéphanie Leblanc

Communications Manager
+33 1 46 47 28 05
media@bsr.org


Media Contact: Asia

Jeremy Prepscius

Vice President, Asia-Pacific
media@bsr.org

Press Releases

BSR, Walmart Launch Women's Empowerment Program to Train More than 26,000 Supply Chain Workers in China

March 6, 2014

San Francisco—March 6, 2014—On the eve of International Women’s Day, BSR and the Walmart Foundation are launching Women in Factories China, a three-year initiative that will train more than 26,000 women factory workers in job readiness, life, and leadership skills—in an effort to build a strong pipeline of female leaders in China.

The initiative is part of Walmart’s global program, Women in Factories, launched in 2011 to empower 60,000 women working in 150 factories in Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, Honduras, and India that supply products to Walmart and other retailers. With funds from the Walmart Foundation, in China, BSR will develop the curriculum; implement the program in 45 factories; and collect metrics, case studies, and lessons to share with factories, other brands, and BSR member companies.

All women working in the 45 participating factories—more than 26,000 in total—will receive 15 hours of training on core life skills, financial planning, health and wellness instruction, and career development. From that group of women, 100 at each factory (a total of 4,500 women) will be identified as high-potential workers and will receive 100 hours of advanced training on career development and leadership. The program is free for participating factories and workers, and the curriculum will be freely available for use by any organization or company. BSR also will work with each factory’s human resource managers to institutionalize the program, thus increasing the long-term impact.

A driving force of China’s economy, the manufacturing industry is increasingly challenged by overseas competition and new expectations from workers—approximately 60 percent of whom are women. According to BSR’s interviews with factory workers in China, the new generation of workers is concerned with career choices, gaining experience, and learning skills. The program will address some critical challenges in China’s manufacturing industry, including worker retention, low productivity, and fewer training and career-development opportunities for women.

“Empowerment programs that invest in women workers pay off in multiple ways,” said Jeremy Prepscius, BSR’s Vice President, Asia-Pacific. “Not only do they build the capacity of the factories by equipping women workers with the knowledge, tools, and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace, these programs give women the skills to take on leadership roles at home and in their communities.”

“We all know that female workers in China’s manufacturing sector are diverse, with needs and goals in the workplace that vary depending on age, education, and industry experience,” said Raymond Bracy, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Walmart China. “The Zhujiang River Delta is a hub for the manufacturing industry, where many multinational manufacturers are based. Enabling the success of female factory workers will be crucial to the region’s future, and Walmart is excited to partner with BSR to be a part of that bright future.”

Walmart’s support of the Women in Factories initiative is part of the company’s global Women’s Economic Empowerment program, which CEO Mike Duke announced in 2011 to leverage Walmart’s global size and scale to empower women across its supply chain. Over the past several years, Walmart China has supported a number of women’s empowerment projects, donating a total of RMB 5.35 million, about US$870,000, to support projects such as the Walmart’s Women’s Development Fund, led by China Women’s Development Foundation, as well as a partnership with WEConnect China to support women entrepreneurs. Walmart Foundation has also invested US$1 million in China by partnering with BSR to promote sustainable agriculture among Chinese farmers.

For BSR, the Women in Factories China program is part of BSR’s broader supply chain women’s empowerment initiative, HERproject, a workplace-based program that promotes increased access to information and services on women’s health and finance. To date, HERproject has reached more than 200,000 female workers in more than 200 factories and farms in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Vietnam.  


About BSR

BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

Contact

Eva Dienel
Associate Director, Communications, BSR
edienel@bsr.org, + 1 415 984 3233

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