The garment industry in Ethiopia is known for providing job opportunities for female workers. Nearly 80% of the industry employees are women, many of whom are employed in the factory floor section with limited opportunity for growth and development in their career ladder.
Acknowledging the need to provide better opportunities for women workers in this industry, the ILO Siraye programme on advancing decent work and inclusive industrialization has launched a leadership development intervention as part of its women empowerment objective in factories that are enrolled in the Better Work and SCORE factory intervention. The aim of this women empowerment programme is to provide the textile and garment women factory workers with required skills and knowledge to take up more senior roles in their organization. This is done through a 3 month intensive training and mentorship programme with female workers who are interested in career progression by taking on more senior role.
To date, the intervention trained and matched 50 female workers with their respective mentors in Hawassa and Bole Lemi industry parks. Workers who are part of the programme have also been given the opportunity to practice leadership by taking up supervisory roles in their respective line of work.“In an industry dominated by female workers, it is only imperative that we see more women in leadership positions. We believe this will curb most issues related to productivity and gender imbalance at the management level” stresses Siraye programme head Kidist Chala.
“The management does not full trust in the leadership of women at higher positions. I really appreciate this women empowerment leadership development program. It is quite a learning journey for me as a mentor for my personal growth. Most importantly, it is a very good opportunity for women workers to be empowered and take up higher leadership positions.” Tegabu Belay/ Executive Supervisor and assigned mentor
Initial feedback indicates that workers are benefiting from the intervention and that more work needs to be done to reach workers at scale and create more opportunities for female workers through training and mentorship.
“The training helps me tap into the skills and assets I didn’t realize I have. It is also helping me fill any skill or knowledge gaps to practice leadership position.” Floor worker – Hawassa .By taking the learnings from the first cohort of the intervention, the women leadership development intervention programme plans to expand its reach to more factories across Ethiopia.