At JACK & JONES, it’s very clear to us that an equal world is one of the foundations of A/BETTER WORLD. That is why we believe in working with our manufacturers to support the women in our supply chain both in and out of the workplace.
Women who have access to information on health and personal development can make better decisions for themselves and their families. Plus, with the knowledge and power to take charge of their own choices, they can become powerful agents of change for the wider community.
Through our parent company BESTSELLER, we have been part of the HERproject™, a program that provides tailored workplace education courses for women and men — who are also a crucial piece of the puzzle — since 2012.
Run by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) HERproject™’s programs are designed to increase the wellbeing, confidence and economic potential of women working in global supply chains. Since we came on board, over 60,000 workers across 19 of our manufacturing partners in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have been positively impacted. The HERproject™ programs will also be implemented within two of our manufacturing partners in China.
HOW DOES HERPROJECT™ WORK?
HERproject™ provides four different workplace education programs:
● HERhealth, which raises awareness about healthy eating, maternal health and personal and menstrual hygiene
● HERrespect, which provides critical reflections on gender norms and builds skills to prevent and address gender-based violence in the workplace
● HERfinance, which supports employers to digitize wage payments so women have greater financial independence and control over their earnings
● HERessentials, a digital toolkit born from a need to continue supporting workers remotely during the pandemic, which BESTSELLER has had a direct hand in developing
We collaborate with BESTSELLER and our manufacturing partners to implement the best-suited program, making sure the content is tailored to where the workers need most support. It is less about one-size-fits-all solutions, and more about listening to the needs of those on the ground and shaping the program around them. Women who have completed their training can then go on to become peer educators, sharing their knowledge with co-workers, friends and family.
While it sounds like a pretty strong system, the solid proof comes from the individual stories of impact that make their way back to us. Like the story of Kakoly, a Sewing Machine Operator at our manufacturer A. K. M. Knit Wear Ltd. in Bangladesh, who was able to help her co-worker get a uterus infection diagnosed after becoming a peer educator following her HERhealth training. Or Selina, a Cutting Assistant in the same facility, who was able to recognize potential breast cancer symptoms in one of her neighbors.
SUPPORTING THE HERPROJECT™ IN GOING DIGITAL
In 2019, our parent company BESTSELLER committed to a five-year strategic partnership with BSR, the organization behind the HERproject™. Since then, we have been able to step up our involvement and become more hands-on with developing new empowerment programs like HERessentials – a digital toolkit for workers – which was supported by our BESTSELLER colleagues from the get-go.
HERessentials is an app designed to increase workers’ tech literacy, digitally providing information on health and financial resilience as well as tools for relationship building and stress management. In 2020, BESTSELLER rolled it out with multiple factories in Bangladesh. Now, it is partnering with two Pakistan-based manufacturing partners — including Artistic Milliners — to introduce HERessentials there too. Bringing the program to Pakistan is part of an agreement with Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW), a program funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to improve women’s access to more secure, safer and better paid work opportunities.
We are excited about what this partnership means for our ability to positively impact the women who make JACK & JONES clothes. On International Women’s Day in 2021, BESTSELLER celebrated reaching its target of empowering 100,000 women working for the cut-and-sew manufacturers of its different brands — four years ahead of its 2025 target.
Now we’re working on setting a new target, with the aim to continue providing knowledge and training that we hope will be passed on to friends and family beyond the walls of the workplace, creating a positive impact for the entire community.