Apparel retail giant The Gap has been awarded the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) Champions for Change Award for Innovation – in recognition of its work on behalf of female garment workers.

The company was recognised for its PACE (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) programme, which was developed in 2006 to give female garment workers improved life skills and technical skills.

PACE currently operates in India and Cambodia, with plans for expansion into other countries, and more than 3,500 female workers have taken part to date.

Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the ICRW, said: “Gap’s PACE programme is a pioneering business model that leverages its aspirations as well as its assets.”

At one facility, women completing the programme were promoted at nearly five times the rate of other female workers in the same factory.