Amidst the seasonal preoccupation with buying new clothes, many are interested in the brand and design, with little interest in the country of manufacture of those clothes.
Despite the multiplicity of brands, the manufacturing countries are almost confined to China, Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia. Why these countries specifically, and what is the truth about what is being said about women controlling the clothing industry in those countries?
The garment industry has, throughout history, been one of the most female-dominated industries in the world.
According to Fashionrevolution data, more than 7% of garment workers in China are women, in Bangladesh, the rate is 85%, and in Cambodia, it reaches 90%.
However, this dominance does not come from the preference of women over men or the desire to empower women and achieve equality, but rather as a result of discriminatory practices against women, as employers take advantage of women’s domestic responsibilities, such as cleaning, cooking and caring for children, usually limiting their ability to search for other types. From jobs, she does not have the time or opportunity to improve her working conditions or even talk about the violations she faces daily, which makes her an ideal employee in management’s eyes.
Cheaper workers…more profits
If business conditions improve in one country, companies will move to another country, which is the philosophy that the global apparel company owners deal with.
While the United States and most European countries follow laws that grant workers living insurance, provide them with health care, education, and entertainment, set working hours, and set minimum wages, European and American companies contract with local companies in Indonesia, Cambodia, or Bangladesh to produce their requirements, where the rights of workers Less and their cost is cheaper, and hence more profits.
According to a report by Sustainyourstyle, garment workers are forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day, every day of the week.
During peak season, they may work until 2 or 3 a.m. to meet the fashion brand’s deadline, and female workers usually work without ventilation, inhaling toxic substances, or inhaling fiber dust.
A report on the “Clean Clothes Campaign” website, which is concerned with improving the working conditions of the sportswear industry for brands, shows that over the past two decades, the value of the marketing budget has doubled, and in return, during the same period, the costs that are supposed to go into workers’ pockets have decreased. By 30%.
The report confirms that the production of a lot of sportswear for these brands is in Indonesia, where 80% of the garment workers are women and earn between 82 and 200 euros per month.
It is a low wage that does not cover basic needs, as the minimum wage, in those countries, reaches 363 euros, and some workers do not even receive the legal minimum wage.
Pregnancy is prohibited
Women working in these companies face discrimination once they decide to start or have families.
According to the Clean Close organization, in some clothing factories, female applicants ask whether they are married or plan to have children. Some employers hire unmarried women who have no children, and others make each woman sign a document agreeing not to have children during her employment period.
Because of the necessary need to work, women who become pregnant while they are working try to hide this, which often leads to congenital disabilities. Pregnant workers are subjected to harassment, such as verbal abuse, increased production quotas, longer working hours, and more difficult tasks, such as shifts that require standing instead of Sitting down.
Harassment is common
Violence and harassment are particularly prevalent in the garment industry, where large numbers of women work in low-skill jobs for low pay.
According to Clean Close, Indonesian workers in ready-to-wear clothing companies say, “Male managers harass girls in the factory, they come to girls, invite them to their offices, whisper in their ears, touch them, and try to lure workers with money or threaten them with dismissal to force them into sexual practices”.
A study conducted by “Fair Wire France” and “Care International” also revealed that nearly half of female factory workers who produce clothing and shoes in Vietnam for major American and European brands face systematic sexual harassment at work.
Physical abuse forms ranged from gestures, touching, slapping, kissing, rape, and threatening to end the contract until they are chased to homes. The report refers to the culture of silence related to this matter, which means that the percentage may be greater.