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Page 24

Photo: Michael Tsegaye / CARE.

EQUALITY | H&M FOUNDATION

NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL By unlocking the power of female entrepreneurship and strengthening marginalized groups, the H&M Foundation has proven that inclusion and empowerment are investments that pay off for whole societies.

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ver a decade ago, then UN Secre­ tary-General Ban Ki Moon stressed that the empowerment of women is a fundamental condition if we are to make progress toward the goals for which the United Nations was created. Still, inequalities continue to persist around the world. “There is still a tremendous amount of work to do,” says Reintje van Haeringen, CEO of the non-profit poverty-fighting organization CARE. “But through our Global Program with the H&M Foundation, we have seen on a community level that change is actually possible.” In 2014, the H&M Foundation and CARE set up an ambitious partnership for empowering hundreds of thousands of women economically, helping them to start, develop, and grow their own enterprises. In seven developing countries worldwide, women have been equipped with skills training, tools, and surrounding support structures to grow both in their business as well as in their confidence.

24 H&M FOUNDATION | A CATALYST FOR CHANGE 2019

“In the program, we have seen that once the women become successful, they invest most of their increased income in the education of children and taking care of their community,” says Reintje van Haeringen. “I had expected them to want to compete with each other, but instead they organized in groups and often started saving collectively. We saw first hand that when women thrive, they take their whole community with them. By joining together they can also collective­ ly advocate for their rights and needs, and we see this happening across the globe.” In the second three-year phase of the Global Program, the H&M Foundation and CARE were able to build a deeper understanding of what women’s economic empowerment means and what favors it. “We were able to identify the mechanisms and processes that enable this to be scaled up, and build a business case for banks and other institu­ tions to invest in,” says Reintje van Haeringen. Aside from the obvious interventions, such as developing and strengthening skills through •

Profile for H&M Foundation

H&M Foundation – A Catalyst for Change 2019  

This is H&M Foundation's Annual Report – A Catalyst for Change 2017. Here we share how we have managed to achieve our goals; how we have rea...

H&M Foundation – A Catalyst for Change 2019  

This is H&M Foundation's Annual Report – A Catalyst for Change 2017. Here we share how we have managed to achieve our goals; how we have rea...

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