Today on the 8th March, for International Women’s Day, we want to congratulate every single one of you. It is time to celebrate our nature and the progress made so far. Today, rather than looking at celebrities, we would like to pay homage to all the women in the world.
At AmaElla, as we work in a female dominant industry, we are especially sensitive to all women´s issues. We are women making products for women made by other women. 7 out of 10 workers in the clothing and footwear industry are female1. Unfortunately even in the 21st century, garment workers still face fundamental right´s issues:
Forced Labour: still found in labour intensive parts of the supply chain such as spinning, weaving2 and systems like the Sumangali in India effectively constitute forced labour3.
Women’s Rights: women face sexual harassment and discrimination on a daily basis. Furthermore, in some parts of the world, women are still not granted maternity leave4.
Child labour: a problem of much concern but difficult to tackle, especially in countries with inaccurate birth records or where people can easily lie about their age5.
Reasonable working hours: tight production schedules to supply a demand for fast fashion require long working hours6.
Safe working conditions: even 4 years after Rana Plaza, garment workers often face unsafe, cramped, and hazardous conditions7.
Freedom of Association/Collective bargaining: in some parts of the world, members of the Trade Union are discriminated against. When they speak about improving working conditions, they are often met with violence8.
Living wage: in many countries, the minimum wage does not let workers live decently9. For example, the minimum wage in Bangladesh is €54 a month10. This means that workers are forever trapped in poverty.
But the above is not just limited to the fashion industry. According to the Word Economic Forum the economic gender gap will not close until 2186. We think 170 years is too long to wait.
The good news is, we can change this. As Gandhi said ´be the change you want to see´. So ladies, we invite you to be your own inspiration – you ARE powerful, you ARE courageous and you´ve made it this far.
Happy International Women´s Day!
1 Global Fashion Industry Statistics – International Apparel’ (Fashion United)
2 Bonded Labour in Pakistan’ (International Labour Organisation)
5 ‘China Country Study 2013’ (Fair Wear Foundation)
6 Ibid., (n.4) ‘Sweatshops in Bangladesh’
7 Ibid., (n.4) ‘Sweatshops in Bangladesh’
8 ‘Statement on Cambodia’ (International Trade Union Confederation, 13 January 2014)
9 ‘Minimum Wage vs. Living Wage’ (Clean Clothes Campaign)
10 ‘Rising wages squeeze Bangladesh garment workers as factories await upgrades.’ (Dhaka Tribune, 16 April 2014)