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Promoting gender equality in the Ethiopian garment sector

10 April 2024

PfC celebrated the opening of 2 workplace childcare centres to enhance gender equality in the workplace.

These centres are part of a larger “Care@Work”-project by the International Labour Organization (ILO), backed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project is a pilot for the African continent and provides cost effective and realistic solutions to retain female talent. From November 2023 to March 2024 this initiative trained over 300 employees and managers in Maternity Protection Rights and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights across four garment factories. To support the garment sector further, a three-day training for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) supervisors was conducted for experts from various ministries and factories. The culmination of these efforts led to the refurbishment and equipping of two childcare centres, marking a significant stride towards improving the work-life balance for employees in the garment industry.

The inauguration event for the childcare centres at Ethio Impact and Yirgalem Textile and Garment was a gathering of notable guests including government ministers, ILO representatives, and industry stakeholders, totalling 47 attendees. Mrs. Yirgalem Assefa, the owner of Yirgalem Textile and Garment, shared her struggles and the critical need for such facilities to retain female employees and boost productivity. Mr. Alexio Musindo from the ILO highlighted the project’s achievements in fostering gender equality and the importance of childcare to support working mothers. The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Stian Christensen, emphasized education and work-life balance as key to economic development, drawing on Norway’s experience with women-friendly policies.

The subsequent tours of the Yirgalem and Ethio Impact facilities underscored the tangible benefits of these centres, not only for the children but also for the broader community, setting a precedent for future projects in the industry. These centres, equipped with high-quality resources and designed to national standards, represent a model for integrating childcare into the workplace, demonstrating a successful synergy between social welfare and economic growth.

PfC would like to extend special credits to our long-term partners, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Ministry of Industry, and Erna and Knut Eng’s Foundation, whose earlier pilots led to PfC’s involvement in this project.

Centre-based ChildcarePartnerships