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Futureproofing the female workforce in Bangladesh

Project time period

20202022

As automation and digital technology is making its way into the textile industry, women’s jobs are at risk. That’s why we work with BRAC and The Asia Foundation to run “STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge”. It’s an international, virtual competition aimed at sourcing tech-based innovations to spur positive impact on women employed within the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh.

The transformation towards a textile industry characterized by automation and digital technology provides great opportunities but also risks for millions of jobs, especially for women. Women represent most of the workforce in the RMG industry and they often have routinized jobs at high risk of automation. There is an urgent need to create a skilled female workforce to save jobs, create new job opportunities and promote gender equity while increasing factory performance.

To empower women and increase female employability, the H&M Foundation, BRAC and The Asia Foundation have joined forces to equip women textile workers for an automated and digitized future work in Bangladesh. The “STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge”is designed to identify the most impactful local and global business innovations that have the potential to improve the industry competitiveness and livelihood of women garment workers.

USD 30,000 and exclusive partnerships with engaged factories

The six winners of the “STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge” 2022 are:

  • Agroshift – A digital grocery platform for garment workers
  • i-SMART – An objective platform to rate sewing skills
  • Jyoti – Accessible sanitary pads to improve menstrual hygiene for garment workers
  • Quizrr – Leadership training to promote female role models
  • Sustify – Gamified microlearning for women garment workers
  • ToguMogu –   A platform supporting the wellbeing and parenthood of female garment workers

In addition to a grant of USD 30,000 each, the winning teams get unique opportunities to immediately start piloting their innovations in selected partner factories. Six Bangladeshi factories have volunteered to provide time, space, and other resources for the winners to pilot their projects, and each team had the opportunity to find their best match through a unique digital matchmaking process where the innovators and factory owners jointly showed interest in developing business together.

“STITCH for RMG Global Innovation Challenge” is part of a multi-partner initiative where H&M Foundation works to support women garment workers in Bangladesh.

Project Specifics

  • Total Donation: 5.9 million SEK
  • Program Period: 20202022
  • Project Status: Current
  • Countries: Bangladesh
  • Focus Areas: Inclusive Societies
  • Partners: BRAC and The Asia Foundation