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8 Mär 2016

Harpreet Kaur, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Low wages, unsafe conditions and harassment: fashion must do more to protect female workers

... Garment-related global supply chains provide critical jobs and capital that help women workers to raise their standard of living and provide for their families. However, these women are also vulnerable in global value chains. Low wages, unsafe working conditions and flexible contracts are prevalent. This is exacerbated by entrenched gender discrimination in everyday life. So what should fashion brands be doing to make sure women are protected?

For women's rights to be respected, their voices have to be heard, but this rarely happens in a meaningful way - particularly because owners and managers are overwhelmingly men...

Brands can play an important role speaking out when governments clamp down on workers who attempt to organise and protest for improved conditions, as Adidas, Columbia, Gap, H&M, Levi Strauss and Puma did in Cambodia in 2014...

Living wages are critical for women as they often take a primary role in providing for the family. They also often receive less pay than their male counterparts...

Women...fleeing conflicts...are even more vulnerable...The pressure to feed their families often means they enter the informal economy where they lack the protections enjoyed by registered workers, leaving them vulnerable to sexual harassment, low wages and hazardous working conditions, with little or no recourse...

[Also refers to Primark]