World Women’s day emerged from protests in the textile industry - more than 100 years later, women in factories are still treated inhumanely.
Yes, you read that right. The dire situation of female workers in the textile industry and their demands for fair conditions is the reason we have International Women’s Day. A brief history class in feminism: In 1908, the incentive for International Women’s Day came when thousands of women took to the streets in New York City to demonstrate against the unreasonable conditions of women in the clothing industry. The strike was a response to low wages, sexual harassment and lack of protection.
How bad is the fact that 100 years later, women still face these same challenges which are worsening, key word: mass production. As long as mass producing for low prices persists, supply chains of the global fashion industry will continue to work under the most adverse conditions.
Mass production vs. Human rights
On March 8th, women take to the streets worldwide with anger, hope and colourful signs. Wearing clothes proclaiming GRLPWR, unaware that these mass products advocating female empowerment stand for the exact opposite. Around 75 million workers in the industry are currently producing our clothes. 80% of them are young women who are exposed to inhumane working conditions.
So whilst standing up for women’s rights, we should really be thinking about those who are denied their social and security standards; those working 80 hours a week for minimum wage - the majority of textile factory workers earn less than $ 3 a day. One has to imagine what it means to wear a GRLPWR shirt with labor costs making up just 0.5 to 5 percent of the retail price. Corporate greed for profit strips away human dignity.
ARMEDANGELS takes social responsibility
In reverse conclusion: fair fashion labels ensure human dignity. At ARMEDANGELS, the ratio between labor costs and sales price is more than 10 percent. The 2160 women working in production (seamstresses, tailors, fitters) receive the same salary in the supply chain as men in the same position. Together with the Fair Wear Foundation, ARMEDANGELS is convinced that the role of women must be strengthened and that discrimination based on sex must be stopped in order to strive for acceptable working conditions. Wages and respect are tied to gender equality.
At ARMEDANGELS we’ve been fighting for better conditions for the past 14 years now - join us. As consumers we must take responsibility. If you really want to help women in the textile industry, you should start by consuming less - 60 percent of all manufactured clothing is not even worn. Mindfully and compassionately change how you consume, together with us.