Working Group Project

Local, Sustainable, Digital: Rethinking Textile Production


In Egypt, 20% of all industrial companies are located in the textile and clothing (TC) sector employing nearly a quarter of the industrial labor force. About 40% of the TC employees are women, much more than in any other sector. However, labour intense export oriented industries (such as TC) are often criticized for providing only low wage employment, especially for women. Today, women in this sector receive only 72% of the hourly wage of men. Moreover, the increasing automation and digitalization of manufacturing processes will further accelerate the displacement of manual workforces once automated solutions become more cost-efficient requiring also for new skills on the remaining TC labour market. Finally yet importantly, the TC sector needs to transform towards more sustainable practices on different dimensions, addressing challenges of resource efficiency and overuse as well as the distribution of shares and knowledge along the highly globalized value chains, in accordance with SDG 8 of the UN. 

Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset

The AGYA Working Group Innovation initiated the development of training modules targeting women who work in the TC sector in rural and economically hindered areas in Egypt. The developed practical training was conducted in cooperation with Egyptian trainers and STUDIO HILO. It relies on innovative experience-based learning techniques that integrate digital open-source appropriate technology as well as contents from STEM education and principles of the circular economy. 20 young Egyptian women were introduced to basic textile techniques, materials and professional application fields with the HILO Spinning Machine, a first of its kind open source spinning machine. In an upcoming training session, the machines will be installed in the portable STEM truck, developed within a former Working Group project to deliver onsite training sessions in remote areas.

By empowering women to make use of digital manufacturing tools in the TC sector and promoting their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge, the members of the Working Group aim to foster technical and digital literacy as well as North-South-South technology and knowledge exchange. 

Press Coverage (in German):
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Disciplines Involved
Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Educational Research, Economy, Management and Innovation Studies, Economic Geography
Cooperation Partners
Fayoum University, Egypt
Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Egypt
Helmut Schmidt University, Germany
Project Title
Empowering Women in Economically Hindered Regions Through STEM-Based Practical Training
Funding Scheme
Working Group Project
Working Group
Countries Involved
Egypt, Germany, Algeria, Libya