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Sat Jul 13, 2013, 08:39 AM

 

An Awkward Truth: Bangladesh Factories a Way Up for Women

At the age of 11, Nazma Akhter started work in a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At 14, she was beaten up by hired thugs and tear-gassed by the police when she joined fellow garment workers in a protest against working conditions in her factory. Today, 39-year-old Akhter is one of the most respected and influential labor leaders in Bangladesh.

The subject of Bangladesh's textile industry and its relationship with global capitalism, argues Akhter, is much more nuanced than the way it is largely being portrayed in the West. If worker conditions can be addressed, she says, the garment factories present a unique opportunity to move women from the margins to the center of Bangladeshi society.

'When a Woman Knows Her Rights, She Can Demand Them'
For starters, Akhter has absolutely no patience for campaigns that target certain Western companies. "Garment workers earn the same salary regardless of whether the factory is supplying a discounter like KIK, Lidl, Aldi or Primark or a high end brand like NIKE or Hugo Boss," she says. "A campaign against a few companies doesn't help. Western consumers should pressure all the brands."

In addition to teaching women their basic rights, the Awaj Foundation also works together with major clothing companies to improve their practices in Bangladesh. Since 2008, for example, Akhter and her colleagues have worked closely together with German discount clothing chain KIK to provide health care to garment workers. The company has been a lightning rod for criticismabout the conditions for workers in the companies it contracts to produce its dirt cheap clothing, and working with the Awaj Foundation has provided it with a needed opportunity to burnish its image.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bangladeshi-garment-factories-help-promote-women-in-society-a-910214.html

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Reply An Awkward Truth: Bangladesh Factories a Way Up for Women (Original post)
antiquie Jul 2013 OP
Scuba Jul 2013 #1
antiquie Jul 2013 #2
Aerows Jul 2013 #3

Response to antiquie (Original post)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 08:48 AM

1. Not a justification for the factory, but a condemnation of conditions in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 08:54 AM

2. "If worker conditions can be addressed"

 

Pretty much says it all.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 13, 2013, 09:21 AM

3. Exactly, Scuba n/t

 

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