Women’s Rights In The Fashion Industry

By Courtney Jones and Morgan Ginn

2018, a year for the ladies! This January marked the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, and once again millions came out around the country to support equality for women. Recent movements such as the Women’s March, the Time’s Up campaign, and the #metoo movement have created a platform in our society to talk about women’s rights.

Not all women have the platform to speak up about harassment. The Time’s Up campaign made this clear by acknowledging that not every industry gets as loud of a voice as those in the film industry.

“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile, every garment and factory worker forced to trade sexual acts for more  shifts, every domestic worker or home health aide forcibly touched by a client, every immigrant woman silenced by the threat of her undocumented status being reported in retaliation for speaking up and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behavior that they are expected to tolerate in order to make a living: We stand with you. We support you.”

-TIME’S UP NOW

Women in the fashion industry are a clear example of this. Over 85% of people working in the fashion industry are women. And when we say women that doesn’t mean they’re over 18. Children can also be found working in textile industries.

 

MOS T CLOTHESARE WORN JUST7 TIMES-9

Women working in harsh conditions are doing so to provide for their family. Studies have shown that women are more likely to spend their income on their children’s education and future savings. Women’s empowerment is about empowering whole communities.

There is a touching example of this in the movie True Cost. If you all haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out on Netflix (like for real, do it right now). The movie shows a mother who works long hours in the textile industry surrounded for hours by harsh chemicals who struggles to raise her daughter due to the roughness of her job. She ends up taking her daughter to live with her parents so she will be able to attend school and hopefully not end up working in a factory as her mom does. This mother had to sacrifice her time with her daughter in order to hopefully provide her with a better life.

Women are seen as caregivers, they sacrifice for their loved ones. This is seen in everyday life but seen all too often in the fashion industry. Not only do they sacrifice their time, but their health is at risk. Their jobs are not safe environments, and they are paid just enough to keep scraping by. Women are strong and resilient but they shouldn’t have to be in this industry.

Many slow fashion industries work solely with women or have a strong focus on helping women. These companies are ensuring they are working normal hours in order to spend time with family. They are also paying the women enough to not just live but to thrive. To send their children to school, to send their daughters to school. They are able to contribute more to the community economically and that helps the community thrive.

If the girl who made your skirt’s unpaid

you cannot say it’s beautiful

if the pay is less than living wage

you cannot say it’s beautiful

if the colored dyes now lie in rivers

poisoned fish, polluted waters

if there’s no sick pay, no toilet breaks

if the factories are in decay

no matter what your mirror says

or how stylish you may look today

you cannot claim it’s beautiful.

This poem by Hollie Mcnish captures our feelings about unethically sourced clothing. Are your clothes truly beautiful? Think about this poem the next time you’re out shopping and buy things that are beautiful and empowering to both you as the consumer and to the makers. (P.S. Who made your feminist tee?)

Women who are given the chance to thrive can change the world. Educated women are unstoppable. When you invest in slow fashion, you invest in the future of women. #thefutureisfemale

It’s time to say time’s up to violence against women across all industries.

2018, we have high hopes for you.

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