Women are essential in our business as the majority of Lindex customers, employees and our suppliers’ factory workers are women. This influences our social commitment, where we work with initiatives that focus on empowering women around the world.
Since 2012 we have been working together with HERproject, a factory based education program initiated by BSR (Business for Social responsibility) to improve female textile workers’ conditions. HERproject is based on peer education trainings where the participating workers become ‘peer educators’ who spread the knowledge to other workers at the factories.
HERproject improves female textile workers’ conditions both in the factories and outside. The programs reaches many people at once, as the workers share their knowledge with their family, friends and neighbours.
We work with two different programs within HERproject; HERhealth and HERfinance Wage Digitization.
HERhealth provides health education and training for female textile workers to increase their awareness and access to health services. The participants choose which topic they need training on such as health, safety, hygiene, safe motherhood, food and nutrition, diseases. Since Lindex started working with HERhealth, we have reached about 22 000 women in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar and Pakistan with health education and training.
In 2014 we extended the HERhealth program at one of our Indian suppliers to also include men. We saw very positive results from this project as it developed the communication between women and men on sensitive issues. During 2016 we continued with another project in India that included both women and men.
On International Women’s Day 2018, Lindex highlighted the special day and textile female workers for the second year in a row by donating part of the sales to HERhealth. The 119 000 euro donation will be used to start more HERhealth projects in Lindex suppliers’ factories. The corresponding donation from 2017 was 114 000 euro and has so far enabled nine new HERhealth projects and included about 8 500 women in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Myanmar.
HERfinance provides the textile workers with financial education on topics such as financial planning, budgeting, saving and borrowing responsibly. This program reaches both women and men, but has a particular impact on women’s financial strength since women often lack access to and control over the household financials. In 2015 Wage Digitization was added to the program, which educates both workers and management in the digitisation of payroll services and connects workers with financial services. By digitisation of payments workers can have their salaries transferred to their mobile phone, which can also be used to make payments. Transitioning from cash-based payrolls to digital payrolls has many benefits such as increased security, resource efficiency and increased factory productivity. The addition Wage Digitization is a pilot that was initiated in 2015 through a partnership between BSR and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since Lindex started working with HERfinance Wage Digitization, we have reached about 7800 workers in Bangladesh.
By working with HERproject we contribute to wellbeing and financial strength for textile workers. HERproject also increases the quality and efficiency of the factories when the workers feel better. This commercial value makes it interesting for the factory owners to participate in the projects. Working with HERproject has also shown to improve relationships between textile workers and factory management, as the workers have increased confidence in the management and the management view the workers more as individuals. Read more about women who has participated in HERproject and their experience here.
Photo © BSR