Asian dialogues on sustainability

COVID-19 and beyond: Making gender equality a reality

COVID-19 has disrupted supply chains globally, resulting in reduced orders and incomes, factory closures and job losses. The implications for developing countries are enormous, potentially leading to strikes and social unrest. This webinar sheds light on the pandemic’s impact on the textile and garment industry in Asia.

The webinar is open for all industry stakeholders and free to attend. Please
register here.

Part of the Asian Dialogues on Sustainability series, this is the second webinar to be co-organized by the GIZ FABRIC programme and ILO’s Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains Asia project, looking at the impact of Covid-19 on the Asian garment industry.  This discussion focuses on gender equality in the sector, drawing on industry insights from Bangladesh, Indonesia and across the region to explore what a gender inclusive sector looks like, why it's important for business and workers, and why it needs to be central to the industry's post-COVID-19 future.

Given that women account for roughly 80 per cent of the garment sector workforce in Asia, they are particularly affected by the negative effects of COVID-19. These are further exacerbated by underlying practices of discrimination, violence and harassment, lack of women’s representation and leadership, wage gaps, and unpaid care and family obligations.

Three experts will share insights on the realities ‘on the ground’ in relation to gender in the garment sector, what the new dynamics as a result of COVID-19 are, and the economic business case for making gender front and center for any rebuild, now and in the future from a business competitiveness angle.

This webinar is for all industry stakeholders and observers, particularly from Brands, Buyers, Vendors, Producers, Unions and Employer Associations who want to know what the Gendered perspective of COVID 19 in the garment sector looks like, both now and in the future.


Ms Nazma Akter, Executive Director, Awaj Foundation

Nazma Akter is the founder and Executive Director of Awaj Foundation. She has been fighting to improve workers’ rights, especially of women, in the garment sector in Bangladesh for over 32 years. Nazma is also the President of Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, one of the largest union federations in Bangladesh, an Ashoka Fellow 2019, and Co-chair of the Asia Pacific Women’s Committee of IndustriALL Global Union. Nazma has focused her efforts on increasing women’s participation in decision-making at the workplace and at home, She also works on improving negotiation and bargaining skills among women garment workers so they can build better relationships between workers and factory management, thereby creating harmonious industrial relations in the garment sector in Bangladesh.

Mr Scott Deitz
, Founder and President, Convene Communication Strategies

Prior to founding Convene Communication Strategies, a reputation-management and value-creation consultancy positioned to advise global companies, NGOs, advocacy groups, governments, policymakers and educational institutions, Scott has been leading government relations, corporate communications and philanthropic activities in the Garment and Footwear sector for many years. Since 2013, Scott has worked closely with government representatives, public policy makers and non-governmental organisations, first with VF Corporation and later with Kontoor as Vice President, Public Affairs, overseeing Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Responsibility.

Ms Elly Rosita Silaban
, President, Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Seluruh Indonesia (Confederation of Indonesian Trade Union; KSBSI)

Elly Silaban is Indonesia’s first female Trade Union Leader from Tapanuli Utara in North Sumatra Province of Indonesia. She has spent over 20 years in the labour movement and 15 years as a union leader, first with FSB Garteks (Federation of Textile and Garment Workers Union) and then with KSBSI (Confederation of All Indonesian Trade Union). Over the years Elly has worked to improve conditions for garment workers through campaigns, rallies, and dialogue and has helped foster leadership opportunities for other women unionists.