Victoria's Secret bras and briefs a boost for rural Indian women

By Sadie Whitelocks

Victoria's Secret helps 'boost' the assets of cash-rich women around the world, with its bust-enhancing bras. But according to reports the lingerie company is also improving the lives of thousands of rural Indian women who are responsible for creating the garments.

Workers produce Victoria's Secret bras worn by Miranda Kerr (R) at the Intimate Fashions factory in Chennai

Traditionally confined to the house, spending their days doing chores, making meals, cleaning and looking after the family, an increasing number are said to be realising the benefits of economic freedom.
Indian villager Jaya, 22, who has recently been making up one of Victoria's Secrets most popular innovations - the padded 'Very Sexy' push-up bra, said: 'I knew nothing but the village before.
'My parents just wanted me married as quickly as possible.

'They never saw me as an asset, just a burden. They did not think a woman could earn money, but look at me.' On Intimate Fashion's massive factory floor, in India's Tamil Nadu state hundreds of women can be seen wearing aprons and headscarves, in the Victoria's Secret signature pink.

The firm - which also produces bras for Victoria's Secret brand 'Pink' and the La Senza brand - is one of thousands of companies that have cropped up in the area over recent years. And Mamandur village, just a 30 minutes drive away, provides a steady pool of young women for the factory which employs around 2,500 workers.

'Thousands of companies have mushroomed here and there has been increasing competition to get good employees,' says Prasad Narayan Rege, Intimate Fashions' general manager. 'So when the World Bank and the Tamil Nadu government came to us with the idea of employing women from some of the poorest communities and give them training, we saw a good opportunity. If it wasn't for this project, we would be in big trouble.'

The World Bank provided a $350 million loan to fund the Pudhu Vaazhvu (meaning 'New Life' in Tamil) project, helping to identify jobless youths in local village committees. 'Initially, it was strange to see rural women working. Our society has kept women at homes in their traditional roles as homemakers,' says Shajeevana R.V. from Tamil Nadu's Rural Development Department.

'But now, these young women are breadwinners. Not only that, we are seeing positive social changes taking place due to these jobs.

© Daily Mail, London

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