Photo: BSR

News & Stories


February 23, 2020

Meet Lalo Mahali, a tea worker from the Kachini Estate in West Bengal, India who also works as a health educator under the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI). When she was 16-years-old, Lalo Mahali’s mother - who worked on the same estate - retired and Lalo took over her role. A few months later, Lalo met a fellow tea estate worker on the same plantation, fell in love, and ran away with him. Unfortunately, later in the relationship he began drinking frequently and abusing Lalo. He sexually assaulted her, and she was forced to marry him due to societal pres...

February 23, 2020

Susheela is a 36-year-old supervisor at Shell Apparels in Bangalore, India a garment manufacturer that supplies to brands like United Colors of Benetton, Wrangler, Pepe Jeans, and Aeropostale. After losing her husband nine years ago and becoming a single mother, Susheela joined Shell Apparels as a tailor to support her family. In 2013, she received the opportunity to be a part of Walmart’s Women in Factories (WiF) Foundation training program, was then selected for the Advanced WiF training, and in 2014 was selected to attend the training of trainers program where s...

February 23, 2020

Meet Sudha, a 40-year-old native of Bangalore, India who has worked for the past five years as a garment worker and peer educator at Laj Exports in the Peenya Industrial Zone. Before this job, she worked at another factory for nine years but left to work at Laj Exports after hearing from others that the management invests in the health and well-being of its workers. As a veteran of the apparel sector, Sudha explained that the main health issues facing most female factory workers are menstrual-related, and how happy and proud she is to be a peer educator. In this ro...

February 23, 2020

Every day, Shubha Mangala leaves her village in the outskirts of Bangalore, India to travel to the Peenya Industrial zone where she has worked as a layer - marking garments with serial batch numbers -  at Laj Exports for the past 11 years, crafting garments for Western brands such as Wrangler, Lee, Guess, and United Colors of Benetton. Shubha Managala is also a peer educator as a part of the factory’s worker health and well-being program implemented by Swasti Health Catalyst, through which she has been trained on a broad range of health topics including nutrition,...

February 23, 2020

G.S Patil is the General Manager of Human Resources and Compliance at Laj Exports in Bangalore, India where for the past 10 years he has overseen the sourcing of major apparel brands such as Wrangler, Lee, Guess, and United Colors of Benetton. The majority -- 70% -- of the workers Patil oversees at the factory are women. 

In 2018, Laj Exports decided to implement the 14-month Zalando’s Life Skills for Empowering Women program supported by Swasti Health Catalyst that covered health (water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and anemia) financial inclusion (financial...

September 19, 2019

Download the Framework for Corporate Action on Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment here

Women’s health is central to women’s empowerment, economic development, and opportunities for decent work. For the nearly 200 million women working in global supply chains to thrive and advance in the workplace, they need access to essential health care services from quality reproductive care to cancer screenings to protection from gender-based violence. But too often, the specific needs of these women workers have been under-prioritized or ignored.

Companies are taking not...

Ten global companies today announced new and expansive commitments to improving the health and empowerment of a combined more than 250,000 women workers and community members around the globe. Commitments from Unilever, Twinings, Nordstrom, Lindex, Shahi, MAS Holdings, Hela Clothing, Inditex, Share Hope, and Ethical Apparel Africa will reach workers in 14 countries with health and empowerment information or services, such as contraception, maternal health, menstrual health, reproductive cancer screening, skill building, anti-harassment programs, and more.

These grou...

May 22, 2019

Every day, Christine drops her children off at her employer-sponsored daycare and goes to her job as an employee relations assistant, popping over to check on her children during breaks. 

Here at her workplace, the 36-year-old mother of two enjoys employee benefits that too many working women do not -- access to essential health services like contraception, cervical cancer screenings, counseling, and even clean, portable water to bring home to her family.

Christine works at Hela, a garment manufacturer in Kenya that produces apparel for major global brands including...

Please reload

Photo: BSR

Our Partners 

Non-governmental organizations and private-sector companies around the world are stepping up to improve the health and well-being of women in their workforce and supply chains. 




The organizations below have years of experience implementing workplace programs with great returns and they are ready to work with you. Click below to learn more.




Photo: BSR



Explore the different research and tools developed by organizations and companies showing the return on investment of workplace health and well-being programs. 

Return on Investment

Read a summary from the Workplace Women's Health and Empowerment Regional Meeting in India that focused on the apparel sector and how companies can drive change on the health and well-being of their female workers in global supply chains.

United Nations Foundation

This evaluation looks at the impact of Walmart's Women in Factories program by examining key performance indicators (KPI's) such as absenteeism, production efficiency, and turnover. 

Tufts University Labor Lab

Women In Factories Evaluation

Good Business Lab's evaluation of the P.A.C.E program - which trains female garment workers in soft skills and life skills such as reproductive health and financial awareness - shows that investing in the life skills of female garment workers delivers measurable ROI to businesses.

Good Business Lab

The Skills to Pay the Bills  

This report summarizes findings from program evaluations at six separate factory sites where P.A.C.E. is implemented. They concluded that the program yielded high returns for women, their families and the businesses where they work.

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

An Evaluation of the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E Program 

The chapter "A New Approach to the Well-Being of Factory Workers in Global Supply Chains" examines the success of a comprehensive worker survey to monitor well-being in supply factories.

Harvard SHINE Initative

Measuring the Impacts of Business on Well-Being and Sustainability 

This report presents an analysis of 47 reports on initiatives of women’s health in the workplace and illustrates how such initiatives and their return on investments are measured.

Danish Family Planning Association

Companies’ Return on Investment (ROI) on Investments in Women’s Health in the Workplace 

This powerpoint presentation explains the WWHE Global Trade Supplier Finance Program (GTSF), an IFC initiative for improving global supply chain sustainability and competitiveness.

International Finance Corporation

UNFPA has developed a tool calculating the return on investment in workplace family planning programs. Originally developed in the Philippines, the tool attempts to measure the average cost of setting up family planning programs and evaluates their effectiveness.

 United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA)

This report evaluates the workplace women's health program HERhealth and determines that it results in a 4:1 return on investment to companies.

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Levi Strauss Foundation

HERproject: Health Enables Returns 

This initiative aims to reach 60,000 women who work in factories that supply products to WalMart and other retailers. They refer to return on investment as "value" on investment to emphasize the need to measure not just cost savings, but other elements that contribute to worker satisfaction, employee well-being and business performance. 


Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative 

This report examines the business case for corporate involvement in community health and well-being, showing that community health has the potential to significantly reduce employee health costs and yields a significant return on investment.

Impact ROI

Driving Corporate Involvement in Community Health and Well-Being 

This report discusses USAID's Extending Service Delivery (ESD), a five-year reproductive health and family planning project that was used to conduct a study evaluating the return on investment of providing health services at a garment factory site in Bangladesh.


Effects of a Workplace Health Program on Absenteeism, Turnover, and Worker Attitudes in a Bangladesh Garment Factory  

This simple tool allows a factory or farm project team to interact and reflect with a clinic team to assess and score the quality of a clinic to work together to make a corrective action plan.


Factory/Farm Clinic Self-Assessment Tool

Self-assessment scoring tool for suppliers to assess their adherence to existing laws and policies on worker health and well-being, developed by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies

SNV Netherlands and Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies

Self-Assessment Tool Scoring Tool for Suppliers

Other Resources

This report discusses setting business strategy and transforming markets in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Business and Sustainable Development Commission

This fact sheet states key statistics on employment in the garment industry, gender, and worth of the garment industry.

Clean Clothes Campaign

This guidebook helps organizations and companies determine how their factories can actively manage their health operations, such as what indicators apply, what action steps to take, and what resources are available for health improvements.

Levi Strauss Foundation

The program aims to train  60,000 women around the world over five years. It teaches factory workers critical life skills in communication, hygiene, reproductive health, and occupational health and safety, identifying personal strengths and gender sensitivity.


This report attempts to estimate the size of the economic potential from achieving gender parity to mapping gender inequality. They use 15 indicators of gender equality in 95 countries and discuss the development of their Gender Parity Score (GPS) that gives a view of what will help to close the gender gap.

McKinsey Global Institute

This article provides new evidence on consumer demand for ethical products from experiments conducted in a U.S. grocery store chain. It determines that although consumers attach value to ethical sourcing, there is significant multiplicity in willingness to pay for it.

Review of Economics and Statistics

This article describes how many companies, including several in the apparel sector, have already begun empowering workers in their supply chains through programs that provide access to reproductive health information and services.

United Nations Foundation

This report discusses Levi Strauss' Worker Well-being program that aims to to raise the living standards of workers through partnerships with strategic vendors. The program asks that vendors communicate with workers, identify local challenges, develop and implement appropriate worker programs and forge partnerships to generate and sustain lasting impacts.

Levi Strauss and Co.


Photo: BSR

Social Toolkit

Share the news! Engage with us on social by hovering over the boxes below for content to share with your networks.