Fair Wear Foundation has been actively assessing the role of gender in the garment industry. This work has highlighted key areas where gender-based issues regularly arise.
Female workers continue to fill the vast majority of low-skilled, low-wage positions in garment factories. It is rare to see women represented in the medium and top paid production positions, which are dominated by their male colleagues. Concerns about wage inequality is not only an issue in the garment industry; according to the International Labour Organisation, on average, women’s hourly wages are less then mens in 89% of countries around the world.
However, the stakes are particularly high for female garment workers considering that most factories are currently unable to pay workers a living wage. Low-wage women workers will face a greater struggle in making ends meet, particularly in cases where they are their family’s main source of income. Both female and male workers may rely heavily on overtime hours in order to earn enough to live on.
Future work by Fair Wear Foundation will provide greater insights into gender-based concerns in the workplace, including ways to identify wage inequality. See the FWF violence against women portal to learn more.