Elissa Goldenberg adapted this blog from a version that was originally published by the UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project, an advocacy collective based in Washington, D.C. that works to strengthen U.S. leadership on international family planning and reproductive health.

There are 225 million girls and women worldwide who want to choose when and whether to have children—and how many to have—but who face barriers to accessing contraceptive information and services. When girls and women can’t plan their families, they face numerous challenges—from an increased risk of death, to a greater risk of dropping out of school, to a reduced ability to earn an income, and more.

With an estimated 1 billion women entering the global workforce in the next two decades, there is an unprecedented opportunity to reach and empower women by providing critical reproductive health education and services through workplace programs.

A number of companies, including several in the apparel sector—an industry dominated by women workers—have already begun empowering workers in their supply chains through programs that provide access to reproductive health information and services. Companies that employ large numbers of women are in a unique position to help ensure that women have access to the family planning education and services that will improve their health and allow them to advance their careers, provide for their children, and be in control of their lives and their futures.

ANN INC., the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey, is one company that has begun encouraging its suppliers to provide women’s health education and services in its factories. As part of ANN INC.’s 100,000 Women Commitment, the company is partnering with BSR’s HERproject—a workplace-based women’s health program—to provide workers with general and reproductive health education, as well as strengthen the workplace to better manage and support women’s health. To date, ANN INC. has sourced 50 percent of its apparel through partners that are participating in HERproject.

Earlier this year, the Universal Access Project at the UN Foundation partnered with ANN INC. to learn more about how HERproject is changing the lives of women workers and positively affecting PT Tainan, one of its suppliers in Indonesia.  

We are excited to share a new video and photo essay, produced by the Universal Access Project, that brings to life the stories of how the women and peer educators at PT Tainan have benefited from HERproject.