Women are an integral part of Indian apparel manufacturing industry, be it in middle-level management or on shopfloor. Keeping this in mind, Apparel Export Promotional Council (AEPC), an official body of Indian apparel exporters, recently organized a seminar on Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act 2013 for its trainers. Industry experts like Vikram Pandita, Regional Manager, Code of Practice – South Asia at Next Group plc and VK Jha of AIDER NGO and others shared their views on this issue and urged the industry to come forward to initiate Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) as it is an important tool regarding this act.
“Next is guided by its own Next Code of Practice for the industry. But things are getting more defined and strict. The Modern Slavery Legislation of UK makes it very important that brands ensure best working condition and safety for women in their supply chain. Workers are the biggest asset and the industry needs to nurture them to ensure trust and sense of belonging,” said Vikram.
At the seminar, VK Jha shared details about legal protection given to women working in Indian garment factories and sensitized the participants on the importance of gender equality and creating awareness about the same in the industry. HKL Magu, MD of Jyoti Apparels and Vice Chairman of AEPC insisted on women safety and dignity, and said that these are of prime importance for this sector, with over 70 per cent workforce being women. “AEPC has taken up this responsibility to create awareness across India on the ICC and I expect the trainers to reach out to the industry in their region and ensure creation of effective ICCs,” he added.