Tamil Nadu government launches multistakeholder Coalition to promote safer workplaces for women in the textile sector


[Press release]

Photo: UN Women
Textile Industry Coalition Launch in Chennai on 22 February 2024. Photo: UN Women

Chennai, India — The Tamil Nadu Government announced the launch of a multi-stakeholder Textile Industry Coalition (TiC), to strengthen the implementation of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act.

A collective effort to enhance workplace safety in the Textile Sector, the TiC brings together various actors, such as brands, manufacturers, government agencies, service providers, industry associations, trade unions, civil society organizations, and research institutions, to work towards a common goal of creating a safe and empowering work environment for women in the textile industry by promoting promote zero tolerance for sexual harassment and violence in the women-dominated textile sector of Tamil Nadu.

The TiC will also work towards creating industry-standardized guidelines and codes of conduct to promote best practices and accountability. It will cover all aspects of the textile value chain, from the factory floor to the community and the policy level. The coalition is led by the Department of Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment and the Department of Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textiles and Khadi of Tamil Nadu and convened by UN Women with diverse stakeholders.

Photo: UN Women
Photo: UN Women

Speaking at the launch of Coalition, Ms V. Amuthavalli, IAS, Commissioner of the Commissionerate of Social Welfare said, “This initiative aligns with the Tamil Nadu Government’s mandate. On February 21, the honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu formally released the State Women’s Policy. Additionally, the government is rolling out a new app for quarterly filing of reports. These measures demonstrate the commitment of Tamil Nadu state towards creating a safer and more inclusive work environment for women. Tamil Nadu has taken significant steps and efforts in implementing PoSH. The state currently has 5,493 Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) in government organizations and 10,946 ICCs in private establishments.”

Mr Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, IAS, Principal Secretary of the Department of Textile, Govt of Tamil Nadu, added, “The launch of TiC, is a reflection of our commitment to the welfare and dignity of the women workers in the textile sector. We believe that by eliminating violence and sexual harassment, we can enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the industry, as well as the socio-economic development of the state.”

Mr Kumar Jayant, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Labour and Skill Development, Govt of Tamil Nadu discussed the importance of safe workplaces in increasing women’s labour force participation rates in Tamil Nadu and emphasized the commitment towards zero tolerance for sexual harassment and violence against women in the workplace.

“This is a groundbreaking initiative that sets an example for other industries to follow. We are not only addressing a critical issue, but also creating a culture of respect, equality, and empowerment for all women in the workforce. This is a collective effort to bring about positive change and build a safer, more inclusive industry where everyone can flourish without fear. I congratulate the Government of Tamil Nadu on this innovative and holistic approach to addressing gender-based violence” stated Susan Ferguson, Country Representative of UN Women India, at the launch.

H&M one of the leading apparel brands and a founding member of the coalition, Omang Rai Narang, Country Manager of H&M India said, “H&M Group is committed to respecting fundamental human rights of people across our value chain. We are happy to be part of TiC, which aligns with our objective of being a fair and equal company defined by our values. We hope that through this coalition, we are able to firmly cement the principle of zero tolerance to gender-based violence. This would greatly enhance the working conditions and the quality of life for the women workers in the textile and apparel industry, who are the backbone of our business.”

Ananda Krishnan, Executive Director, KPR Mill Ltd. and member of the TiC, said, “We welcome the launch of TiC, which is a timely and relevant initiative to address the issue of violence and sexual harassment in the textile sector. We are ready to cooperate with all the stakeholders and implement the necessary measures to prevent and combat such incidents in our factory. We believe that by creating a safe and respectful work environment, we can improve the morale and performance of our workers, as well as the reputation and profitability of our factory.”

Note to Editors: Out of 2049 large and medium textile mills in India, 893 mills are in Tamil Nadu. Similarly, out of 996 small units in India, 792 are in Tamil Nadu. A majority of the textile and garment workforce in the state are women.

For further information contact:

Daniel Ginsianmung
Communications Analyst, UN Women India
e: daniel.ginsianmung@unwomen.org