To raise awareness around International women’s day, the topic for this blog is to communicate the struggles of women working in factories. 80% of garment workers are women. There is a huge amount of gender discrimination within the fashion industry, women are taken advantage of.
“Women can be made to dance like puppets, but men cannot be abused in the same way. The owners do not care if we ask for something but demands raised by the men must be given some consideration. So, they do not employ male workers”. Female Bangladeshi garment worker. (Quote from: https://labourbehindthelabel.org/the-women-who-make-your-clothes/).
In Bangladesh, the minimum wage for garment workers is £45 per month, which is very far from living wage. Many of the female workers are working between 60-140 hours overtime per week, this is unimaginable. Especially when they are exploited and do not receive overtime pay. The scariest part is that the garment workers are not working in a safe environment, sexual abuse and harassment is very common. Health and safety are not the factory owner’s priority at all.
“Factory owners have been taken advantage of women’s unequal position in society to form an even cheaper, more docile and flexible work force”. A quote from Fashion Revolution.
Even though there are few males who work in the garment manufacturing industry, women earn a great deal less. Women face systematic discrimination; the female workers are only able to access the lowest paid jobs and are very unlikely to ever have a promotion.
The garment workforce has experienced extreme hardship during the COVID 19 pandemic. During the pandemic in 2020, an article was released by the BBC, which shocked the nation.
These are some of the quotes from the BBC article from female garment workers:
"We're made to work continuously, often through the night, sleeping at 3am then waking up by 5am for another full day," one woman said in an interview. "Our bosses don't care. They're only bothered about production."
"They've increased our workload. We're forced to stay late to finish it - or they yell at us and threaten to fire us. We're scared as we don't want to lose our jobs."
"The supervisor always shouts at us," one woman said. "If we make any error in stitching, I'll be taken to the master who is very scary. The master will start swearing and shouting at us. It's a terrifying experience" All three quotes are from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-54960346
It is inhumane that female garment workers are in this position. They fear for their life in the factories, and nobody should feel like this. Nobody should feel unsafe in their work environment. Mishi cares about who made our clothes, no woman should be exploited making our sustainable clothing, or any clothing. The fashion industry needs to change.
Weekly wages information: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/exploitation-or-emancipation-women-workers-in-the-garment-industry/
80% women are garment workers statistic from: https://labourbehindthelabel.org/the-women-who-make-your-clothes/