3 Ways To #ChooseToChallenge The Treatment Of Women Garment Workers In The Fashion Supply Chain This IWD

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 month ago | Features

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The theme for this International Women’s Day, happening today March 8, is #ChooseToChallenge.

The treatment of women garment workers in the fashion supply chain can be extremely problematic, so, this International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting three ways to #ChooseToChallenge the treatment of garment workers in the fashion supply chain.

80% of the garment industry workforce are women. They can face multiple forms of discrimination including extremely low wages, extremely long hours and unpaid overtime, dangerous working conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals which can, among other things, negatively affect female reproductive health.

For example, women that live in and around conventional cotton farms (which, according to the Pesticide Action Network UK, use 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land but 6% of the world’s pesticides and 16% of the world’s insecticides), have been found to experience related reproductive issues. According to a study on organochlorine pesticides and female puberty in South Kazakhstan, for example, “increased concentrations of pesticides in the blood of women and girls living in cotton-growing regions is associated with… a reduced level of two specific hormones.”

Here, then, are three ways to #ChooseToChallenge the treatment of women garment workers in the fashion supply chain.

1. Ask major brands #WhoMadeMyClothes
This might seem like a small act, but small actions by lots of people effect positive change, and if major brands were asked by loads of their customers #WhoMadeMyClothes, we believe they would be forced to answer, and, ultimately, ensure responsible treatment of their garment workers.

2. Buy fair-certified clothing
Globally recognised fair certifications ensure responsible treatment of garment workers through trusted third party auditing systems. For international production look out for Fairtrade-certified clothing, and for local production look out for Ethical Clothing Australia-certified production.

3. Choose organic cotton over conventional alternatives
The pesticides and insecticides used in conventional cotton can have damaging reproductive health effects for the women who work and live in and around it. According to a study on organochlorine pesticides and female puberty in South Kazakhstan, for example, “increased concentrations of pesticides in the blood of women and girls living in cotton-growing regions is associated with… a reduced level of two specific hormones.” Organic cotton is grown without these chemicals.

You can check out the International Women’s Day website here.

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