by Dheeraj Tagra
22-October-2018 | 6 mins read
Thanks to joint efforts of apparel export houses and international brands, the number of women workers are increasing on the shop floors of Delhi-NCR’s garment factories. With the growing strength of women, these factories are also aware of the need for overall safety and empowerment measures of the women workers. Especially top exporters are quite active on this front. Modelama Exports, one of the well-known export houses of India has witnessed a good surge in the number of women workers. In 2015, there were nearly 25 per cent women workers in the company while the same is now 35 per cent. The company is further geared up to increase the same and is working aggressively in this direction. International Brands like Ann Taylor and Super Dry are also supporting the company’s programs- ‘Her Health’ and ‘Gender Equality’ respectively.
In the series of motivating women and to ensure their safety and empowerment, Modelama Exports engages in different kinds of seminars and workshops from time to time. In one such seminar on Women Empowerment & Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) organized recently, the company invited experts from Haryana Police, Internal complain committee, and motivation and safety experts.
Arvind Rai, Director of the company shared, “In one of our units, out of total 2400 workers, 850 are women workers which is a big number of women workers in comparison of apparel units of Delhi-NCR. Various existing women workers are motivating other women in their circle to work in our factory.” Brands are also helping the company with their own initiatives and regular support in terms of guidance and awareness camps.
“We motivate our workers with the personal touch. Invite their kids for a factory visit and kids feel proud that their mothers work in such a safe and beautiful factory. I am happy that now more and more women want to work with our company,” Arvind Rai, Director, Modelama Exports.
Munesh, Officer, Haryana Police visits the factory from time to time and interacts with women, motivates them to download women safety app ‘Durga Shakti’. Women commandos from her team help women workers while teaching them safety measures. She averred, “We try to increase the self-confidence of women that they are safe and, in any case, if they require any help or guidance, we are always with them. With the help of this app, women can easily access police’ help.” Many women workers, as well as mid-level management staff of the company, have already installed this app in their smartphones and time to time new workers do get guidance regarding the same from fellow workers or staff of Haryana Police.
The company is also taking help of private organizations in this regard which is proving fruitful for the company. Veena Gupta, Founder & CEO, Seam Risks Solutions, Gurgaon who is bestowed with the title of ‘Lady Bodyguard’ for giving her services to the workers of the various garment factories. “I have observed that women workers in garment factories are becoming more aware, be it their empowerment or safety. Apart from the joint efforts of various stakeholders, women’s own willpower is also one of the biggest reasons,” she added. She further shared that despite increasing awareness and improving conditions, still there is much scope regarding the empowerment and women safety.
Pro-industry NGOs working dedicatedly for the garment industry are also a part of this exercise be it awareness or supporting women workers in different ways like offering education to their kids, providing hand work to women workers etc. V K Jha, Founder of such NGO AIDER shared that women workers know about the Internal Complain Committee (ICC) but there is a need to increase their involvement. “During my visit to many factories I have strongly observed that ICC is a powerful support structure for women workers but we have to create more awareness about harassment and how it starts and increases, so we can control it right from the beginning,” he added.
It was interesting to see that women workers of the company who are also members of ICC are quite aware of the rules-regulations of ICC. Their activeness, confidence and strong way of presenting their thoughts during seminar got heavy applaud.