P.A.C.E. - Empowering Women

The women of P.A.C.E. each have a story

Group of women

Launched in 2007, our innovative Gap Inc. Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program was initially created to support women in the global apparel industry, and we have since expanded the program to community settings and more countries to unlock new possibilities for women and adolescent girls around the world.

Today, P.A.C.E. has three pillars: Workplace, Community and Academia. We deliver our P.A.C.E. community programs in multiple industries and settings around the world in partnership with local NGOs, governments, brands and schools. Our goal is to reach 1 million women and girls through supply chain vendor and community partnerships by 2022.

Gap Inc. believes that all women deserve to reach their full potential and to find and use their voices.


  • Reach 1 million women and girls through P.A.C.E. by 2022.
  • 100 percent of our strategic factories* are investing in women’s empowerment through participation in Empower@Work by 2025.
  • 100 percent of Athleta and Gap brand factories will participate in Empower@Work by 2025.

*Factories representing 80 percent of our total business volume.

Progress Since 2007

804,000+ women + girls


5,000+ certified P.A.C.E. trainers


75 percent of supply chain vendors have made 2022 commitments to implement P.A.C.E. training


Growth Per Year





Women + Girls








Community Partners




Sourcing Dollars: Percentage spent with P.A.C.E. vendors




^ P.A.C.E. programming and participation was limited in 2020 due to COVID-19 in-person gathering restrictions across many of our implementing locations.


· P.A.C.E. unlocks opportunities for the women and girls who work in the global apparel value chain and live in surrounding communities.
· Over 800,000 women and girls have participated in the program as of early 2021.
· Participant evaluations document higher self-esteem and productivity, as well as increases in their communication, execution and financial literacy skills.
· We are expanding P.A.C.E. through strategic partnerships, including with other brands, as well as a partnership with USAID focused on women and water, and a new multistakeholder initiative, Empower@Work, that has the potential to reach millions of women in global supply chains.

2020 Active P.A.C.E. Community Partners

Abercrombie & Fitch

Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC)

Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants (ASAM)

Avery Dennison

Beijing Social Work Development Center for Facilitators

China Women’s University

Classic Fashions

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE)

Fujian Hwa Nan Women’s College

Gram Tarang Employability Training Services

See the Complete List

Hainan Tropical Ocean University


Hebei Women’s Vocational College

Heifer International

Humara Bachpan Trust

Hunan Women’s University

Inno Community Development Organization

International Labor Organization – Better Work (ILO-BW)

Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD)

Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE)

MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child

Martha Tilaar Group

Ministry of Rural Development, India (MoRD)

Mülteci Destek Derneği Refugee Support Center (MUDEM-RSC)

Nanjing Normal University

New Balance

Phillips Van Heusen

Project Concern International (PCI) a.k.a. Global Communities

Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

Shaanxi Women and Children’s Development Foundation

Shantou University


Want Want Group

Win-Win Strategies

World Vision Honduras

Xi’an Peihua University

Program Expansion and Empower@Work 

Since launching P.A.C.E. in our vendors’ facilities in 2007, we have invested in an expansion strategy that is helping us grow the program and unlock the reach of leading women’s empowerment programs that have collectively engaged more than 4.5 million workers in global supply chains.  

In 2013, we expanded P.A.C.E. to community settings through innovative collaborations that include strategic partnerships with local governments and other brands, as well as a new multi-stakeholder initiative. In 2016, we expanded again to introduce P.A.C.E. programming for adolescent girls in two age groups (11-13 and 14-17). As a result of the vision, P.A.C.E. graduates have seen their own daughters gain access training that supports better life skills, helping girls be bolder, braver and able to negotiate their problems more effectively. We are even beginning to see girls who graduated from the P.A.C.E. girls program transition into the women’s program, demonstrating the impact of P.A.C.E. over their life course. 

We have also expanded the P.A.C.E. curriculum, which is opening doors to more new partnerships. Since 2014, we have integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) curriculum into our P.A.C.E. program, which is supporting our strategy to address water issues through the lens of people and human rights. In 2017, we leveraged the P.A.C.E. WASH curriculum for a five-year, $32 million public-private partnership collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve access to clean water and sanitation services for the women touched by the apparel industry. (Read more about the Women + Water Global Development Alliance.)  

Starting in 2019, P.A.C.E. joined forces with the founding members of Empower@Work to harness the collective power of apparel industry efforts to support women's empowerment in factory settings. Alongside Better Work, Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR) HERproject, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) and International Center for Research and Women (ICRW), we launched Empower@Work, a collaborative effort dedicated to empowering women and advancing gender equity in global supply chains through the sharing of knowledge, skills and networks.  

Our organizations initially came together to harmonize our individual, leading women’s empowerment training curricula, and that culminated in the development of a new, open-source, toolkit that comprises elements of each program. The Empower@Work Worker Training Toolkit includes 12 modules in addition to a practitioner’s guide, covering core dimensions of gender equality: 


  • Communication
  • Gender
  • Problem Solving & Decision-Making
  • Time & Stress Management
  • ​Leadership


  • Health
  • WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene)
  • Finance

Institutional Environment

  • Rights & Responsibilities in the Workplace
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Execution Excellence
  • ​Sexual Harassment, Assault & Violence Prevention

The toolkit has been recognized as a best practice curriculum for empowering women in the apparel supply chain. 

To enable employment to be a catalyst for empowerment, we must leverage an ecosystems approach and a greater degree of collaboration. This will help achieve the depth and scale of change required to yield lasting improvements across workplaces and supply chains. Aiming to connect leading women’s empowerment programs, which have engaged more than 5 million workers in global supply chains to date, Empower@Work has three primary streams: encouraging the adoption of best practices in women’s empowerment programming; transforming the market through collaboration, data and insights; and using our collective voice to influence systemic change to benefit female workers and advance gender equity in global supply chains. 

We believe that Empower@Work will be a catalyzing force in the apparel industry, and are committed to developing it into an organization that will support the advancement of women workers across global supply chains. 

We have set new goals linked to Empower@Work, and we will measure performance against those targets by assessing the percentage of factories with at least 50 percent of enrolled female workers. We will further assess the extent to which factories are institutionalizing Empower@Work as part of their HR management processes, including looking at how they introduce it to workers and demonstrate commitment to the program from the top levels of management. 

In addition to P.A.C.E. and Empower@Work, we have other programs aimed at positively impacting the lives of women in our factories around the world. These include Supervisory Skills TrainingDigital Wages, and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response. Together, these programs provide a comprehensive and holistic engagement model for facilities to improve labor standards, benefit workers—particularly women—and support business continuity and resiliency in our supply chain. Ensuring Quality and Documenting Our Impact 

As we grow P.A.C.E., we have invested in solutions that help ensure the quality and sustainability of the program at scale, and we have conducted both qualitative and quantitative evaluations to understand our impact and share best practices.  

One of the ways we’re supporting growth is through a new  online learning platform that has supported the training and certification of 5,000 P.A.C.E. trainers. This platform allows partners to manage their own trainer base, while maintaining P.A.C.E. program quality through a standardized curriculum.  

We have also created new frameworks and resources that allow people across our global program to share lessons and practices that can be applied depending on local priorities. To this end, we funded the development of community and workplace measurement and evaluation frameworks by ICRW to demonstrate the impact of P.A.C.E. in a systematic and credible way. These frameworks enable our community partners and vendors to better access and use data and analysis to improve and validate the social and business impact of P.A.C.E. programs. This framework coordinates and builds consistency in our systems and makes it easier for P.A.C.E. teams as well as our implementing partners globally to share tools, knowledge and resources such as master trainers.  

In addition, we are continuing to conduct program evaluations and share our results with our vendors and other partners. Our evaluations of participants have documented our impact: Women who participate in P.A.C.E. report increased knowledge, skills and productivity, as well as higher self-esteem and confidence, as documented in the program’s evaluation results. They describe becoming better at communicating, managing their finances, taking care of their health and planning for the future. P.A.C.E. has also helped enhance women’s relationships at work, at home and in their communities. 

As we evaluate our programs, we have reflected on several key ingredients that make P.A.C.E. a success: our strong partnerships both internally and externally, our relationship with our key vendor partners and our focus on the needs women of today. Since the lives of women have changed since we launched P.A.C.E., we continue to evaluate our curriculum to ensure that it remains relevant in our rapidly changing world.  

By engaging with our supply chain vendors, we can support their business and ours. These suppliers report benefits in the form of improved workforce productivity and performance and greater retention of workers. P.A.C.E. strengthens our relationship with our suppliers and enhances their performance, and it also deepens the sense of meaning and purpose among our employees. 

We plan to build on these successes and lessons learned by continuing the use of open-source, no-fee license partnerships, increasing opportunities to demonstrate impact through qualitative and quantitative assessment tools, and embedding P.A.C.E. programming into our Supplier Sustainability team in factory settings. This positions the program as a business priority that contributes to supply-chain capability building, efficiencies and enhancements. 

We began offering P.A.C.E. in community settings in 2013 to support women outside the factory environment. We are now enhancing our approach even further to reach one million women throughout the world by end of 2022.

2020 Progress

81 percent increase in communications skills


60 percent increase in execution skills


75 percent increase in financial literacy skills


3.38 percent turnover rate for P.A.C.E.-trained women compared to 8.99 percent among their peers**

** According to a sample of 41 facilities.COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on many communities where our clothes are made. The pandemic has been particularly painful for women, who have been more likely to lose their jobs and bear the burden of family care and support during this health crisis. It will take years for these communities and the women within them to heal, repair and rebuild.

While COVID-19 restricted our ability to hold in-person training programs, we made significant progress in both our P.A.C.E. program and our Empower@Work partnership—developments that will help us reach 1 million women and girls through P.A.C.E. by 2022 and support our new goal for all Gap Inc. strategic factories to participate in Empower@Work by 2025. This progress is also supporting Athleta and Gap brands’ new goals to have 100 percent of their factories participate in Empower@Work by 2025.

P.A.C.E. cumulatively has reached more than 804,000 women and girls, including more than 199,000 in 2020 alone. We also integrated the P.A.C.E. workplace program into our larger Supplier Sustainability program, which puts P.A.C.E. participation and performance on the Gap Inc. vendor scorecard, and signals to vendors that the program is both a strategic priority and an expectation of our commercial partnership with them.

Women who participate in P.A.C.E. report increased knowledge, skills and productivity, as well as higher self-esteem and confidence.

We also continued to grow P.A.C.E. in the community through strategic partnerships, including with government and educational institutions. In 2020, we announced a three-year partnership with India’s Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) that will enable us to reach hundreds of thousands of young women and men across the country with a P.A.C.E. life-skills curriculum tailored for MoRD’s social and economic program for rural youth. This builds on our successful pilot with MoRD in 2019, in which 2,000 young people participated in a P.A.C.E. program in states of Kerala and Chhattisgargh in India. An evaluation of that program by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai revealed that participants demonstrated an increase in knowledge, attitude and skills related to gender, financial literacy, health and stress management.

Also in 2020, we began programs with Kampuchea Action For Primary Education (KAPE) and the Ministry of Education in Cambodia, and with CARE International in Indonesia, to reach more than 12,547 through our adolescent girls’ P.A.C.E. curriculum. We also continued to expand P.A.C.E. through the Women + Water Alliance, which, in 2020, delivered the P.A.C.E. curriculum to 100,000 women in India’s cotton and textile-manufacturing communities through our partner CARE.

In the face of COVID-19, we expedited our efforts around digital technology for P.A.C.E. In 2019, we launched an online learning platform for P.A.C.E. trainers, and quickly pivoted to large-scale digital Training of Trainers (TOTs) in 2020, making hundreds of hours of content available online. In 2021, we will begin to develop a more comprehensive digital learning platform with the flexibility to offer in-person, hybrid and fully virtual sessions.

While COVID-19 revealed significant challenges and inequities in our world, it also shined a light on the power of women’s networks to support their communities in times of crisis. We saw that through the Women + Water Alliance P.A.C.E. program, as leaders and participants conducted educational campaigns about the importance of hand-washing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, sewed more than 15,000 handmade masks and distributed food to those in need.

Such stories bring to life an idea that’s at the heart of women’s empowerment: By investing in women, we’re also investing in communities. This experience has strengthened our resolve to use P.A.C.E. as a flagship program to support more women globally. In addition to talking with our existing partners about how the P.A.C.E. network can help supplier communities rebuild after the pandemic, we are also discussing the possibility of bringing a P.A.C.E. program to address women’s employment in the U.S. to address a variety of challenges that were exacerbated due to COVID-19, such as the caregiving crisis, mental health needs, social isolation of teens and women’s unemployment.

We are proud of what P.A.C.E. has accomplished since 2007 and believe that both P.A.C.E. and Empower@Work have the potential to lift up millions of women and girls, building resilience in their families and communities for generations to come.

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