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Women Take the Lead

A woman wearing bright pink smiles at the camera. Behind her sit many women wearing brightly colored clothing and working at their stations.

Women employed in garment factories across Asia are becoming leaders at work and in their communities. CARE wants to enable more women across Asia to have their voices heard and influence decisions which affect their lives.


75% of garment workers globally are women yet they are often underrepresented in leadership positions in their workplaces and communities. This means the challenges faced by women workers can go unrecognized or are not prioritized by those with the power to make a difference.

However, the situation can change when women have the skills and confidence to speak up and women are organized so they can speak together with a unified voice.

Our research in Bangladesh showed supporting women to develop leadership skills, build solidarity and take collective action helped women claim maternity pay, receive minimum wage and deal with harassment in the workplace.

Many global brands have supported our work to promote women’s empowerment. We want to engage with more organizations who believe empowering women will lead to improvements in the garment industry.

of garment workers are women yet they are often underrepresented in leadership


So how are we promoting women’s empowerment in the garment industry?

  • Our proven EKATA model – which supports women to identify issues together and take action – has supported more than 5000 women in Bangladesh and expanded to new countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. Learn more in this video.
  • Our in-factory training curriculum and management engagement is increasing the number of women garment workers in leadership roles and tackling the barriers that women face to achieve equality in the workplace.
  • Our engagement with trade unions in Bangladesh is increasing the proportion of women members and women leaders.
  • Our support for women union representatives in Indonesia is improving their ability to effectively bargain and negotiate on behalf of workers.
  • Our support for women union delegates to attend the International Labour Conference helped to increase the presence and voice of women workers on the global stage.


Learn more about how women in leadership have been making a difference through one of our partnerships.


The EKATA Model: Supporting workers to take action

The EKATA model has been tested and developed by CARE Bangladesh to promote collective empowerment of women. It has been tailored to promote workers' rights to encourage women's leadership and empowerment within the garment industry.

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OIKKO Learning Brief

In 2018 CARE’s Made by Women strategy commissioned an outcome harvesting evaluation to help understand the range of outcomes achieved by OIKKO. This learning brief outlines the major findings and lessons learned.

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