April 04, 2017
In the U.S., Equal Pay Day falls on April 4 this year. Today marks the day that the average woman in the U.S. earned as much as an average man did in 2016 alone. Put another way, women currently earn 80 cents for each dollar that men earn.
This situation is not unique to the U.S. In fact, studies, from sources like the World Bank, suggest that, as women contribute more apparel-specific labor input than men and that the apparel sector is a female-labor intensive sector, the leading place to make an impact on the global gender wage gap is through improving wages in the garment industry. We think that the remedy is a living wage for garment workers.
Given the violence directed at labor leaders in the garment industry, like Aminul Islam, we know that people who make our clothes include women every bit as brave as the “fearless girl” pictured above, women like Kalpona Akter and Shima Akter, profiled in “The True Cost,” are women with whom we seek to stand in solidarity. The garment industry is stuck in low wages for workers, and it will only get unstuck when we act. The bravery required for us is but a fraction of the bravery of women and men working for better, dignified wages. What will we do so that they are not standing alone?