News Round-up: Women in the Sewn Products Industry

Updated: Apr 6, 2021


Below is a compilation of recent news, studies, and reports that explore topics related to women in the sewn products industry.

Post-crisis Support Must Put Women Garment Workers First - Just-Style - November 2020 The International Labour Organization (ILO) conducted a study on gendered impacts of Covid-19 on the apparel sector. The study found that women, who make up the majority of the garment sector workforce in Asia, are being disproportionately affected by fallout from the pandemic through layoffs and work reduction. Covid-19 also exacerbated underlying challenges including discriminiation and harassment, under-representation of women’s voices, wage gaps, and unevenly shared unpaid care and family obligations.

Women’s History Month: A Year Into the Pandemic, How 15 Female Shoe Entrepreneurs Are Forging Ahead and Finding Purpose - Footwear News - March 2021 In a tougher-than-ever job market, an increasing number of women are turning to entrepreneurship to forge their own path forward. But even for those who have been in the fashion and footwear sectors for years, female business owners have had to dramatically shift their strategies to adapt to the so-called “new normal.”

Fashion Still Lagging on Gender Diversity - Women’s Wear Daily - May 2019; Unraveling the Fabric Ceiling: Tracking Female Leadership in the Apparel Industry - Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers Only 12.5% of apparel and retail apparel companies in the fortune 1000 are led by women, despite the fact that women enter the apparel industry in droves early in their careers. Industry experts on diversity and inclusion point to four key barriers of advancement: 1) Lack of CEO championship, 2) Unconscious bias, 3) Fewer women in the pipeline, and 4) Societal constraints.

Gender Inequality in Apparel Industry Going Unnoticed - Just-Style - September 2020 The Gender Baseline Assessment by the World Benchmarking Alliance looks at the gender data disclosure of the world’s 36 “most influential apparel companies” and weighs how these companies are integrating a gender strategy across the entire value chain and addressing women’s needs. Brands assessed include Adidas, LVMH group, Amazon, Primark, Gap Inc., Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Target, and Walmart, among others.

4 Policy Steps Biden and Harris Can Take to Protect Garment Workers, Environment - Sourcing Journal - February 2021 An open letter to the new administration requests policies that champion a new chapter in sustainability and social responsibility. Recommendations include improving labor laws to support garment workers in the United States and driving industry coalitions and stricter policy interventions to support women in the global apparel supply chain.

Ralph Lauren, PVH Spearhead Gender Parity Roadmap - Just-Style - October 2020 The fashion industry group, consisting of brands, retailers, and non-profit organizations, is focused on bringing gender parity to the highest levels of business, and aims to help brands break down barriers to achieve gender equality. The roadmap offers industry peers step-by-step methods to help achieve gender parity and pay equality at all levels of their organizations.

Ghana Model Apparel Hub to Push Women’s Empowerment - Just-Style - February 2021 A model apparel manufacturing factory is to be set up in Ghana aimed at accelerating women’s economic empowerment in the sector by setting high standards for fair wages and healthy working conditions. Established by the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, the facility will utilize Women’s Global Development and Prosperity funds. It will employ 800 new staff, placing women in at least 70% of new supervisory and factory jobs.

Can ‘Fashion Makes Change,’ Change Fashion? - Women’s Wear Daily - November 2020 A new brand-led community billed as a “transformational ecosystem” for fashion seeks to reimagine collaboration, climate action, and gender equity amid a technological and social revolution long overdue for the industry.

  • Textile Exchange also hosted a webinar on the initiative.

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