Empowering women

When it comes to creating a better tomorrow, as our sustainability ambition goes, we mean a better tomorrow for everyone. We believe that everybody has the right to opportunities, education, social and financial safety – regardless of background or gender. Empowering women in communities that deserve better chances creates a shared belief and a better future.

As change does not happen overnight, we have been partnering with organizations, and investing in helping women improve their livelihoods and those of their families in several communities where we are present.

Two of the shining examples are the SHAKTI initiative in India and the Women's Entrepreneur Program in Ecuador.

India – The SHAKTI initiative

Starting in 2021, our Bekaert India team partnered with a local NGO, Pradeept Bharat, to enhance the education and empowerment of girls in underprivileged communities. The focus is currently on helping girls from the Katkari tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups in India. The program aims to provide opportunities for the young women of this community to learn skills, breaking down the social and economic barriers and making them more financially independent. 

By November 2022, 20 girls already benefited from this 12-month program, learning skills such as handcrafting (making bags, quilts, tie and die printing and other handmade textile items). 

During the last Diwali celebrations, our Indian colleagues experienced first-hand the talent of these young women, as they set up a small stall for them to showcase their products in our Indian headquarters and to give them the opportunity of a first selling experience. This was a resounding success, with many local Bekaert employees buying accessories and decoration for the Diwali celebrations.

I am very grateful to the Bekaert India team for giving the girls opportunity to learn these skills. I have seen the dedication and hard work of these girls and I am sure learning these skills will help them to become self-confident taking their future into their own hands.

Anjali Gharpure

Pradeept Bharat Foundation (NGO Partner)
Anjali Gharpure

Ecuador – Women's Entrepreneur Program

The Women's Entrepreneur Program, launched by Ideal Alambrec Bekaert in 2021. It provides business and other skills training, mentoring, and other assets to help women entrepreneurs improve their livelihoods, families and communities. In the first year, the program already helped the lives of 33 wives and mothers of our employees. 

The six-month program has two phases. The first three months are about designing a business plan while in the next phase, the participants learn about marketing and social networks.

Maribel Díaz, one of the program participants, is the mother of one of the Ideal Alambrec Bekaert employees.

Maribel joined the program when her husband passed away in January 2021.

Joining the program and establishing a small business has helped her to focus since the death of her husband. 

Initially, Maribel worked on expanding her small bazaar and stationery shop and saw the opportunity to add the production of advertising items and crafts.

After three months, little by little her dream started to materialize when she bought a machine for designing and crafting wood planks. She immediately trained herself and was able to sell a new product in her bazaar.

In the second phase of the "Women's Entrepreneur Program", Maribel took the "Social Networks Management in Sales Workshop", which helped her to promote her products and reach more customers through social networks.