July 15, 2020

Responsibility · Diversity, equity, & inclusion

Promoting Gender Equality in Bangladesh: Gildan's Partnership with Room to Read to Improve Girls' Education and Literacy

As part of its commitment to creating stronger communities, Gildan aims to support education in the regions where it operates, and a crucial factor behind the Company’s efforts lie in promoting more inclusive systems which support gender equality in the classroom. This is especially important across regions located in the Global South, where girls often face more barriers to accessing education. In Bangladesh – one of the regions where Gildan has facilities – there is a distinct disparity between girls and boys in the school system, which is why the Company has leveraged its resources to support an important initiative that aims to help Bangladeshi girls get the education they need as they grow into adulthood.

Since 2017, Gildan has partnered with Room to Read, an organization whose goal is to transform the lives of millions of children through education, creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. A large part of their work in Bangladesh focuses on advancing girls’ education while teaching them skills for self-advocacy so that they can gain the confidence to chart a path of their own. Over the years, Gildan has contributed over USD $120,000 to the organization, helping close to 350 girls get access to the education they need.

By participating in this program, girls in grades 6-12 have the opportunity to develop both standard education skills and knowledge about the more systemic roadblocks that women often face. Girls receive guidance from local female mentors, allowing them to safely and constructively ask questions and learn about the effects of gender bias in their communities. Beyond this, the program seeks to create a supportive environment outside the classroom by offering meetings and workshops to engage parents and other locals around conversations about gender bias and female empowerment. Struggling families also get the chance to receive financial support as part of this program, which helps ease the burden of covering the cost of sending girls to school.

“We are proud of this partnership and the positive impacts it has left on the lives of girls,” explains Alquimedes George, Country Manager in Bangladesh. “For many of them, the program is a catalyst to helping them secure better futures by giving them the skills to access more opportunities later in life.”

Find out more about community engagement at Gildan here.