Our impact, Their voices

Empowering women in the manufacturing industry: A Pakistani SME’s journey towards gender equality, workplace cooperation and decent work

A leading sock manufacturer implemented SCORE Training to tackle workers’ safety concerns while improving equal opportunities and awareness on gender equality.

Article | 13 June 2023
Ayesha Spinning Pvt. Limited (Socks division)
Year established 2010
Location Punjab, Pakistan
No of workers (% female) 2,800 (11%)
Products Socks

Established in 2010, Ayesha Spinning has a well-equipped infrastructure with 1,200 knitting machines, in-house processing facilities, and a monthly production capacity of 1.5 million pairs of socks.

Pakistani women are underrepresented in the labour market. At Ayesha Spinning too, women make up only 11 per cent of the total workforce and remain restricted to the packing, knitting and finishing areas of work. At the supervisor level, only 2 per cent of women are employed in supervisory roles and no representation at all at the management level. The company also identified several challenges to safety and health, particularly for female workers. There is a lack of awareness of workers’ complaints by the management.

Far-reaching improvements in company culture

Following SCORE Training, an Enterprise Improvement Team (EIT) was formed comprising 6 managers and 10 workers (9 male and 7 female), which organized daily briefings and established an Employee Suggestion Scheme (ESS).

SCORE Training has helped us address our issues and has made communication with others at work easier. Our voices are now heard at the management level.

Female worker at Ayesha Spinning
Through implementing the ‘Workplace Cooperation’ module, materials and supplies were stored safely and properly labelled in the packing, finishing and restroom areas. Display boards were also installed with performance indicators and production objectives to facilitate communication and improve worker motivation. These measures resulted in reduced time spent on information retrieval from 6 minutes before SCORE Training to only 1 minute, leading to increased monthly savings by 83 per cent in just one packing area.

An Enterprise Improvement Team (EIT) was set up and immediately got to work organizing daily briefings and establishing an Employee Suggestion Scheme (ESS).
Ayesha Spinning also adopted new safety standards, such as a mandatory dress code for workers in high-speed knitting areas, visible safety instructions across factory floors, and timely inspections to promote cleanliness and OSH compliance.

Small steps to significant improvements in gender equality

Ayesha Spinning’s HR and Joint Work Council Team established ‘The Ayesha Women’s Development Forum’, which implemented the following measures to promote gender equality:
  • Training workshops: Two trainings on ‘Parenting Skills’ and ‘Workplace Harassment’ were completed to raise awareness on discrimination and harmful gender norms.
  • The focus on awareness on gender equality and harassment was an important part of the session. It has been extremely useful to us. Thanks to this, we can better discuss strengthening female workers’ safety and security at work at our next Harassment Committee meeting.

    Female worker at Ayesha Spinning
  • Inclusive hiring: Several measures were implemented to reduce gender gaps in leadership and management positions. As a result, the number of female workers increased from 11 per cent to 15 per cent, and the number of female supervisors went up from 2 per cent to 5 per cent within three months of SCORE Training.
  • Notice board management: A female team member was nominated to manage the display board on the factory floor, which provides updates on women’s participation and engagement in EIT initiatives.
Training workshop on ‘Workplace Harassment‘ (left) and ‘Parenting Skills‘ (right) attended by workers and managers
Unorganized display board before SCORE Training (left) and organized display board after SCORE Training (right), improving communication for everyone
Currently, Ayesha Spinning is in the process of implementing several improvement projects in consultation with its workers. These include installing new toilets, providing sanitary items in restrooms, improving existing healthcare facilities and establishing a new childcare center. Women are now represented in all major committees within the company, and have improved access to assistance on social security and social/family obligations.

Ayesha Spinning aims to increase its share of female workers to 20 per cent and female supervisors to 7 per cent by 2025. It will continue to implement regular trainings to keep momentum on advancing gender equality, occupational safety and health, workplace cooperation and decent work.

SCORE Training improves productivity and working conditions in SMEs by combining practical classroom training with in-factory consulting. More information on www.ilo.org/score.

You can find SCORE Training’s Gender Equality Masterclass here.

SCORE Training at Ayesha Spinning Pvt. Ltd was funded by Gildan Activewear Inc. and implemented by SCORE Academy - ILO SCORE Programme’s implementation partner in China, with support from Leverage Limited - a third party supply chain management service organization. More information on www.scorechina.com/