Each year on 8 March, the role of women hits the spotlight as the UN-organised International Women's Day is celebrated. BSCI marks this day as its 1000+ companies, sourcing from more than 22,000 factories and farms, represent more than 2 million workers worldwide. Among workers in the international supply chain, women represent around 80 percent in the textile and garment industry and around 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. While working in factories and farms, women also take on most of the responsibility to care for children and the elderly. Despite their important role in development, across the world women continue to lag behind in employment opportunities: lack of access to education which leads to less skilled work and as a consequence poorer wages; reduced access to training; technologies; and mobility.
BSCI is dedicated through the implementation of its Code of Conduct to work towards improved working conditions for women, and indeed all workers, in factories and farms. BSCI also works with its participating companies through training activities for factory and farm managers to encourage gender equality at the workplace. BSCI has furthermore been involved in programs to promote fair and transparent treatment of female workers through Stakeholder Round Tables, specifically in India, where the issue of Sumangali has been raised as a particular issue. BSCI continues to engage its participating companies in order to identify sustainable solutions to gender equality issues. Such complex issues require collaborative work; through the engagement of companies, governments and the general public at large issues of gender inequality can be combated. Read more about International Women's Day.