Empowering women workers through soft skills improvement

The ILO’s Women in STEM Project has joint forces with relevant partners to further improve soft skills of women workers to be more productive and competitive at the workplace.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 02 May 2019
Woman workers in the garment industry
To further improve women’s health and skills, the ILO’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Project has been engaged as one of the partners in the Women’s Health (WEALTH) Project, initiated by H&M Indonesia, a garment multinational company. The ILO’s Women in STEM Project aims to empower, connect and support career development of women.

For the WEALTH Project, H&M Indonesia has engaged multiple development partners with similar visions on the importance of health awareness and rights in the workplace: UNFPA, USAID represented by Jalin Project and ILO’s Women in STEM Project. The WEALTH Project, began in June 2019 to 2020, is aimed to promote rights in the workplace and increase the health awareness among factory workers, particularly women workers.

During the focus group discussions, the participating women workers testified that they sometime face problems with multiple possibilities to solve it. Yet, most them found it difficult to process the problems and identify the best solutions."

Hirania Wiryasti, the Project Coordinator of ILO’s Women in STEM Project
Launched in West Java and Central Java on 23 and 26 April respectively, the initial activity of the WEALTH project would focus on the organization of training of trainers for women champions in H&M suppliers’ factories on topics related to women’s health, including reproductive health, and soft skills. After the training, the participating women champions would share and train their knowledge and skills to their fellow workers in the factories.

As a specialized UN agency on labour and employment, the role of the ILO in the WEALTH Project is to provide training on soft skills in the workplace. The training would be conducted using the ILO’s soft skills training package named “In Business”. Using peer learning methodology, the training package consists of 15 modules, covering issues on: (a) cognitive skills such as problem solving, creative thinking and critical thinking; (b) interpersonal skills such as communication and reaching consensus and (c) self-management skills such as time management and self-awareness.

The launch of the WEALTH Project
“During the focus group discussions, the participating women workers testified that they sometime face problems with multiple possibilities to solve it. Yet, most them found it difficult to process the problems and identify the best solutions,” said Hirania Wiryasti, the Project Coordinator of ILO’s Women in STEM Project. Other soft skills identified by the women workers included communications skills to create a productive dialogue with both fellow workers and the management.

For the training of trainers, the ILO would introduce two of 15 modules, focusing on the priority skills identified by the women workers during the focus group discussions: problem solving and reaching consensus. “This will serve as a pilot training with a possibility of full fledge soft skills training for workers in H&M supplier factories,” Hirania added.

The activities conducted by the WEALTH Project at the national level are linked with the Women Workers’ Health and Productivity Movement (GP2SP) initiated by four ministries: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection. It is also linked to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 on Gender Equality, 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth and 17 on Partnerships for the Goals.

Funded by J.P Morgan Chase Foundation, the ILO’s STEM Project is focused on four programme strategies: skills gap identification, skills upgrading, job placement and in-company developing and mentoring. This regional programme covers three countries: Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.