What she makes is keeping her in poverty
A living wage is a human right. But today, millions of women are trapped in poverty while they work to make our clothes.
They work countless hours – often including overtime, without pay, until the early hours of the morning – for Canadian clothing brands like Aritzia, Herschel Supply Co, Joe Fresh, lululemon and Roots.
These workers aren’t paid anywhere near a living wage. In countries like Bangladesh, women garment workers are paid as little as 60 cents an hour. Half of what they need to cover basic needs – with no hope of being able to afford the very clothes that they make for families in Canada who are going back-to-school shopping this year.
Without a dependable living wage, many women can’t afford basic necessities. They often face poor living conditions and sometimes fall into spiraling debt just to support their families. Access to education and healthcare remains out of reach – keeping them stuck in poverty.
Her poverty isn’t inevitable
It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right working conditions and support, women can thrive, provide for their families and make healthy choices that lift up their communities as a whole.
For example, in Bangladesh, more than 1,000 women who joined Oxfam Canada’s Securing Rights project were trained on how to secure employment with fairer wages and better working conditions.
For more than two decades, Oxfam Canada has led countless campaigns with local and global allies to end this cycle of exploitation of workers – especially women – in the fashion industry.
But to make this a reality for garment makers, Canadian clothing brands must pay them a living wage – which means that the lowest wage paid to a full-time worker must cover a basic and dignified standard of living.
This is especially important now. Brands stand to profit even more than usual from annual back-to-school sales, while garment workers are being kept in poverty throughout their supply chain.
Some of Canada’s biggest clothing companies can be industry change-makers by ending the exploitation of the women who make our clothes. They can do this by:
- Publicly committing to paying a living wage
- Making their supply chains transparent so we know where our clothes are made
- Publishing plans about how they’ll make the necessary changes
- Following through on their plans within 4 years of their commitment
These changes will affect thousands of lives directly and tip the scales of what’s acceptable in the Canadian fashion industry.
Demand a living wage
Here’s the truth: fashion companies have the power to lift women garment workers out of poverty by paying a living wage right now. But they won’t act unless we demand change.
Today, we are calling on Aritzia, Herschel Supply Co, Joe Fresh, lululemon and Roots to pay the women who make our clothes a living wage – because the human cost of Canadian fashion is just too high.
Sign the action right now to help end the exploitation and poverty of the women who make the clothes and backpacks that our children and young people wear to school every day.