I’m a photographer with the e-commerce division of Gap Inc.
As part of a personal trip to Asia, I recently volunteered to spend time in Cambodia, to take pictures of the women who make clothes for our brands and who participate in the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program. It’s an educational learning program that provides female garment workers with enhanced technical and social skills they need to advance in the workplace and in life.
We work with the factory owners to implement the program which has received recognition for its innovation and approach to advancing women. But, I think even more impressive are the women who participate in the program.
I spent one day with a factory worker named Choeun, a P.A.C.E. graduate who had earned a promotion. When I visited, her team was sewing Old Navy knit tops – an item I’m pretty sure I shot in our GID digital photo studio in San Francisco.
While observing her, I noticed that throughout the day Choeun made herself available to the workers in her line, instructing and assisting them with any difficulties they encountered. I know from my own work that managing a team can be a challenge and maintaining quality and consistency is of foremost importance. As a manager viewing another manager, I could see that she had excellent communication skills as well as a calm, approachable demeanor. She takes her work seriously and her team trusts her.
As I return back to my own daily work, I think of Choeun, and how different, and yet directly linked, our work is. I also think of how a program like P.A.C.E. gave her the opportunity to learn new skills that are helping her advance in the workplace.