At the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting held this week in New York City, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck announced that the fashion brand will expand its award-winning life-skills and education program, P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement), with the promise to advance the lives of up to one million women by 2020.
"[P.A.C.E.] has been demonstrated to create success and value. And it's become embedded in many of our vendors as how they do business, so it's sustainable," Peck outlined onstage at the CGI's Annual Meeting. "[One million women through the program by 2020] is not actually an objective, it's a commitment. It's not an aspiration, it's not a goal, it's not an ambition. It's a commitment. We will do this."
As Peck described, women make up the majority of the workforce in Gap's factories around the globe — and yet, are often denied access to education and opportunity. P.A.C.E. and its partners — ranging from Swasti Health Resource Centre to the International Center for Research on Women — invest in women as a global force by providing education, healthcare knowledge, financial literacy and skills for both the home and the professional world, including time and stress management, decision-making and problem solving. "We know that with the right opportunities, women become powerful agents of change in their families and in their communities," Peck stated in a press release.
Since P.A.C.E.'s launch in 2007, 30,000 women in 10 countries have participated in the program. While P.A.C.E.'s curriculum was only initially offered to Gap's vendors, it expanded even further internationally by 2012 with the help of President Bill Clinton. Today, additional plans to widen P.A.C.E.'s scope in its manufacturers' communities include an educational program for girls aged 13-18 and a new curriculum aimed towards women’s leadership.
But in order for P.A.C.E. to reach that one-million mark, the program will also expand its efforts to new partnerships (nongovernmental organizations, development agencies, corporations and even contemporaries in the fashion industry), as well as a select group of partners who will follow a no-fee, franchise-type model in order to learn about — and replicate — P.A.C.E.'s curriculum and its success. "We need your help. We need the help of many," Peck said to the audience. "We believe this is the right thing to do for both our business and for society."