How clean are your clothes? Feminist activism in the international garment industry
In countries all around the world, women working in the garment industry experience labor rights abuses such as long hours, low wages, and unsafe working conditions – circumstances that they are trying to change. In this program, Zehra Khan, a leading activist from Pakistan, discusses women’s rights, how she wants to change the system, and which responsibilities governments, companies and consumers could and should bear.
Activists like Khan fight for the rights of women who work within large companies and patriarchal systems. How do you fight exploitation by powerful multinationals? How do you make sure the voices of these women are heard, while gender based discrimination is part of daily life?
Khan started organizing female home-based workers in 2001. They started out small and informal, but have grown to be an established organization called Home Based Women Workers Federation. By uniting and working together, these women change the system. How does this work? We talk about this, as well as the role of the consumer, with Zehra Khan, Shikha Sethia (Mama Cash), Isabelle Diks (GroenLinks) and other experts. Jenny Mijnhijmer will perform a theatre monologue, that she created based on testimonials from anonymous female activists in the garment industry. There will be music by Shishani Vranckx.
Zehra Khan is secretary-general of the Home Based Women Workers Federation in Pakistan. Kahn has been organizing female home-based workers since 2001, recently resulting in a legislative breakthrough formalizing home based work.
Shikha Sethia has done research into labour rights and corporate accountability in garment sector value chains. She currently works for Mama Cash, the oldest international fund for feminist activism in the world.
Isabelle Diks is a member of the House of Representatives for the left wing party GroenLinks. Her portfolio responsibilities include foreign trade and development cooperation.
Jenny Mijnhijmer is a writer and actress. She works in the arts and also teaches screenwriting at the HKU and the Schrijversvakschool in Amsterdam.
Shishani Vranckx is a singer-songwriter. Her roots are Namibian and Belgian in origin, but she grew up mainly in the Netherlands.
In her work she brings these worlds together.
Ama van Dantzig divides her time between Accra and Amsterdam - building bridges between seemingly opposite worlds. With vast experience on the ground in many countries and communities, Ama believes in the ability of people to generate ingenious solutions for the challenges of our time.
This program is made in collaboration with Mama Cash, a feminist fund that supports women, girls and transgender people who organize to improve their situation and that of their community, and in collaboration with Clean Clothes Campaign, an organization that brings together trade unions and NGOs to improve the working conditions in the clothing industry. This program is part of the Women Power Fashion project, made possible by Nationale Postcode Loterij.
Moderator: Ama van Dantzig
This program is in: English
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