Chapter 6.4

Gender equality

End gender-based violence and discrimination, promote inclusion

Winding up the expert group on gender-based violence and a new focus topic

Gender equality is an important issue for the Textiles Partnership. Members work together to end discrimination and violence. In 2022, the focus of the expert group on gender-based violence was again on exchange and learning from one another. 

The approach also included webinars. In March, ALDI Nord shared its lessons learned from its own gender policy and action plan. Webinar participants were given tips, building blocks and best practices to develop their own gender policy. And in October, Partnership member Hugo Boss presented its diversity and inclusion strategy and details of its cooperation with ILGA World.

Focus topic on gender equality

The work of the expert group in 2022 also focused on the Partnership’s realignment. In a participatory process, expert group members developed individual requirements and KPIs for the focus topic on gender equality. The aim of the focus topic is to pool the efforts of members, achieve greater impact at the local level in producer countries and measure this against the KPIs. 

Members also formulated a vision on gender equality: a dignified, safe and healthy workplace, which eliminates all forms of discrimination and violence against all workers, particularly women and other vulnerable groups who are discriminated against on the basis of their gender, gender identity, ethnicity, migration status, disability or other socially constructed characteristics. The Textiles Partnership and its members are working towards this vision – in part by implementing joint projects. 

Although the emphasis in recent years has been on dialogue and shared learning, the time has now come for a sharper focus on implementation and effectiveness. Many NGOs, companies, international organisations and sector initiatives such as the Textiles Partnership have laid important foundations, performed pioneering work, tested innovative approaches and developed support measures in recent years. Unfortunately, there have so far been few signs of concrete improvements or sustainable impact at the local level. This makes the new focus of the Textiles Partnership all the more important. 

Further information on the focus topic on gender equality can be found on the PST website. 

‘The problem of discrimination remains one of the most difficult human rights risks to identify in the textile industry, which is why discussion of this within the working group was of great value to us. The insights and viewpoints shared with other members of the group help us to keep our policy on discrimination and gender equality up to date and to strengthen appropriate preventive measures in our audit system.’

Dr Gurgen Petrossian, Senior Consultant Sustainability at s.Oliver Group

International Women’s Day 2022: letter to the German Government

At the International Women’s Day on March 8, 33 members of the Textiles Partnership addressed a letter to German Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. In it, they call upon the German Government to ratify without delay Convention No. 190 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. The Convention gives particular emphasis to gender-based violence and harassment, and formulates specific requirements that companies must meet. In December 2022, the German Government duly agreed on ratification – marking a success for the PST members too.


Ending violence and harassment in the workplace

33 members wrote a letter to the federal government urging it to ratify ILO Convention 190 rapidly.

Guidelines on inclusion in textile supply chains

The guidelines on inclusion in textile supply chains supports companies in promoting the employment of people with disabilities in a non-discriminatory way and implementing this in practice. The Textiles Partnership developed the guidelines in collaboration with the International Association of Natural Textiles (iVN e.V.) and the GIZ global sector programme on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

At a launch event in April 2022, Partnership members had an opportunity to talk to pioneering companies as well as the guideline’s authors and experts from GIZ’s global programme on inclusion.


Recommendations for companies and suppliers

The guideline “Inclusion in Textile Supply Chains” aims to support companies in promoting the employment of people with disabilities in a non-discriminatory and practical manner.

Gender Data Indicator Guidance

The expert group continued to work intensively on gender data and in March 2022 published the Gender Data Indicator Guidance, which was developed along with other industry initiatives. ETI, FWF, BSR, SEDEX and the Textiles Partnership have jointly promoted the guidance with a brief explanatory video.


New guidelines on gender data indicators

Although women make up the majority of workers in the textile industry, they are often overlooked in statistics. The systematic disadvantage and discrimination are not only detrimental to them personally, but also have negative consequences for the entire economy.

Dindigul Agreement

In April 2022, the first legally binding, trade union-negotiated convention on gender-based violence in Asia was signed – the Dindigul Agreement. Then in June 2022, the expert group organised talks involving the signatory union Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU) and the support organisations Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) and Global Labour Justice (GLJ). During this direct exchange, members learned how the agreement came into being, where implementation priorities lie and what the different roles and responsibilities of the signatories are.

On the next page you read an interview with Thivya Rakini from TTCU and Nandita Shivakumar from AFWA on the status of the implementation of the Dindigul Agreement.


India: First legally binding agreement on GBVH

The “Dindigul Agreement to End Gender-Based Violence and Harassment” (GBVH) is the first legally binding agreement in the Asian textile industry to end sexual violence and harassment of women workers.

Chapter 6.3
Chapter 6.5
Dindigul Agreement