RAGS Project Convenes Roundtable on Gender Discrimination

'MAC' forums convene key stakeholders in New Delhi and Tirupur

November 2011

From left: 1) SAI staff engage in discussions with key stakeholders at the MAC forum in Tirupur; 2) SAI staff visit the PGC Classic Spinning Mill in Tirupur; 3) Breakout sessions during the MAC forum in New Delhi

In mid-November, Senior Manager of Corporate Programs and Training, Jane Hwang, and Senior Manager, Matt Fischer-Daly, joined India Project Director Rishi Sher Singh in India in support of the RAGS Project, and convening multi-stakeholder advisory committee (MACs) forums in Tirupur (16 November), and Delhi (23 November).

Through the MAC meetings, SAI engaged key stakeholders in the RAGS Project and broader garment and apparel industry, and elicited their feedback to focus the project's training program. The MAC is a forum for facilitated dialogue among stakeholders on strategies to address labor issues that are beyond the capacity of any one group to resolve alone. In line with the focus of the RAGS project, this MAC focused specifically on gender discrimination in the garment supply chain.        

SAI is integrating findings from the meetings into its RAGS training program. Feedback from stakeholders on their experiences and challenge in the field will enhance the curriculum, especially on gender discrimination. During 2012, SAI will provide training on workplace discrimination to factory management and workers of the garment and apparel industry. The project aims to increase gender equity and reduce all forms of discrimination in the workplace, through increased awareness among workers and managers and strengthened capacity to prevent discrimination through the use of management systems. To increase impacts, SAI is coordinating its RAGS training program with the ETI program focused on ensuring decent work for homeworkers.

The MAC meetings also strengthen the guidance that SAI develops for auditors and users of SA8000®. The November MAC meetings included several SA8000® auditors. They contributed their insights and gained additional information from stakeholders of the garment and apparel industry, which is one of 38 sectors in which SA8000® is used in India.

Going forward, SAI invites companies of the garment and apparel industry to participate in the SAI RAGS training program and improve their social performance through management systems, workplace communications and focused supply-chain management. SAI will continue to consult with stakeholders to ensure a targeted training program. Furthermore, SAI is working with partners of the RAGS project and others to coordinate effective multi-stakeholder dialogue that drives improvements in working conditions.

Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS): Improving Social Standards in the Indian Ready Made Garment Sector," is an initiative supported by DFID aimed at improving conditions of home workers, a predominately female workforce, and reducing gender and caste discrimination.

SAI's work at the factory level complements that of other grantees including the UK-based Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and its grassroots partner the Indian National Homeworker Group (NHG), Monsoon, the ITGLWF, Tesco Stores Ltd., and Impactt Ltd. The two-year project will have links with SAI's joint development partnership (PPP) in India.

For more information, visit www.sa-intl.org/RAGS, or read an article about the project in India's Perfect Sourcing Magazine. For inquiries, contact SAI India Project Director, Rishi Sher Singh at RSingh@sa-intl.org.

Bookmark and Share