March 8th, was International Women’s Day and while it is wonderful to go online and see all of the empowering messaging I would be happy with just a fraction of that if it were to become a mainstream conversation throughout the year. Fashion is a feminist issue in many ways, and here is one…
The global garment industry is predominantly made up of female workers (80% of which are women ages 10-35 according to Labour Behind the Label). Many of the countries where clothing, particularly fast fashion, is produced have an existing culture of male dominance and gender discrimination. The female workers are not immune to gender based violence, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, nor retaliation when trying to organize or speak out in the workplace. This is in addition to often being exposed to heinously unsafe working conditions and being underpaid.
Yesterday I spoke with the women of Fashion Changers, an advocacy community focused on fair fashion. They asked 8 women what their hopes for garment workers are and what we demand of politicians, below you can read my responses:
What do you wish for women in the textile industry?
I wish that one day very soon all women working the garment industry (and all women everywhere) can earn a living wage in a safe environment without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence.
Your demand on the politicians in charge?
I want to see politicians hold corporations accountable for their global practices and pass enforceable legislation to protect women against gender-based violence, ensure that women get paid a fair living wage, and promote the empowerment of women overall.
Your slogan for this years International Women’s Day?
Let us women lift one another up until there isn't another woman to be lifted.
Slow and fair fashion brands, like Two Days Off, are providing ethical alternatives for many consumers, but it’s not enough if we aren’t protecting women who are still subjected to the injustices of the fast fashion industry. My hope is that we all do our small part by voting for ethical brands with our wallets and demand more from our politicians.
Does Your Feminist T-shirt Empower the Women Who Made It? - Fashion Revolution
The Women Who Make Your Clothes - Labour Behind the Label
You Want to Support Women? Support Fair Fashion! - Fashion Changers