The program will support between 5,000-6,000 in Bangladesh and 1,500 in Pakistan

The program will support between 5,000-6,000 in Bangladesh and 1,500 in Pakistan

Italian fashion retailer Benetton Group has launched a new project through its Women Empowerment Program (WEP), aimed at supporting home-based workers in Pakistan and those in Bangladesh's ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

The two-year Sustainable Livelihood Project will support between 5,000-6,000 women in Bangladesh and will organise training courses that will help strengthen their professional skills.

According to Benetton, the project will help the women sign up for basic financial products at local banks, such as loans, insurances and savings accounts, as well as starting a dialogue with their employers to increase workplace safety.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, support will be given to around 1,500 women, especially those who are unemployed, working at home or in the fields, and those belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. Benetton says it will help each of them obtain an ID, which is necessary to vote, open a bank account and get access to training courses.

The scheme will also help the women obtain formal employment and will work together with the local textile factories to make workplaces more welcoming to females.

"A fundamental step to empowering women worldwide is giving them the possibility to enjoy decent, fairly paid jobs in adequate workplaces, with additional measures to support them so that they can attain social and economic sustainability for themselves and their families," the retailer says.

The Women Empowerment Program is the focus of Benetton Group's current sustainability strategy, and is based on the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN for 2020.