Ending gender-based violence

Around the world garment workers face gender discrimination, harassment and violence in the workplace.

Gender rights are workers’ rights

Take an average female garment worker in Bangladesh for example. She wakes up before the sun and immediately starts tending to her children, getting them ready for the day. Once they are settled, she quickly puts herself together and heads out to catch a bus in the dark, needing to stay alert and vigilant as harassment from men is a regular part of her daily journey. At work, she puts up with inappropriate comments from one of her supervisors and poor bathroom facilities that make it difficult for her to stay clean on the job. After working overtime for weeks, she’s completely exhausted, but she also knows that if she tries to move up in the company, she’ll find it hard to break into the boys’ club and face roadblocks from management. After finally finishing for the day, she packs up and takes the same bus trip back home in the dark, thinking about the long list of household chores that await her—all of this while getting paid less than her male counterparts.

While this is one fictional example, it represents some of the issues that many women workers deal with on a daily basis.

Why do we talk about women when we talk about gender?

Nearly three-quarters of garment workers around the world are women, and women are disproportionately affected by violence in the workplace. That’s why when we speak about gender-based issues in the garment industry, we are speaking mainly about issues affecting women and girls. At the same time, it’s vital to note that men are also victims of gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace, especially gender non-conforming men, including those who either are or are perceived to be gay, bisexual or transgender.

This is why pushing for gender equity in factories and across the supply chain is a huge part of our work at Fair Wear. What does that look like? Find out what we’re doing here.

Improving due diligence, wages, and equity for women in the Turkish garment sector

In 2022, the RVO funded Fair Wear to conduct research on transforming the business practices of three Fair Wear member brands – King Louie, Schijvens and Kuyichi – and 25 of their Turkish suppliers. 

The aim of the project is to identify, analyse, and test specific policies and actions that garment brands and suppliers can implement to improve their human rights due diligence (HRDD) and responsible business conduct around two focus areas:  

  1. gender equality, with a focus on violence and harassment; and,  
  2. payment of a living wage. 

Project A 

Project A will provide in-depth research among factory workers and suppliers in  Türkiye as well as in the Netherlands with brands buying from Turkish suppliers, focussing on gender equality and violence and harassment in the workplace. 

Project B 

In Project B, Fair Wear and the three partner brands will implement the recommendations developed based on the findings made in Project A. Activities will range from capacity building of local organisations to trainings with suppliers and brands, and more.  

The aim is to see that the best practices and tools identified in Project A and developed by the partner brands in Project B are disseminated and implemented by brands and their suppliers from across the industry. 

Three reports will be published in May and June 2023. 

To learn more, please see here.


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