By Sinéad Brangan and Roisín Nolan. 

After completing this project about sweatshops and how the workers in third world countries are exploited, especially women, we have come to the conclusion that we, as young sixteen year old girls now realize how lucky we are to live in a first world country. Because of where we have been raised, we all have our rights as women to equal pay, education, freedom of speech and the rights to live. This project has really opened our eyes to the shocking contrast in how women in the world are forced to live everyday.

We hope you enjoy our blog about sweatshops. 

Sweatshops are clothing factories where workers (mostly women):
1. Get a very low wage
2. Have to work long hours
3. Work in poor, often dangerous, conditions
4. Are treated badly by their employers
5. Are not allowed to speak out or join a trade union.

Sweatshops are widespread in Asia, China and Latin America, where young children often work alongside their mothers in cramped, dangerous conditions. However, there are also sweatshops in Europe and the United States, where people work long hours for poor pay and are denied the right to join a union.

Because women make up 85-90% of sweatshop workers, employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits. 

Many of these factories are overcrowded, dirty and rat-infested. A lot of these factories are known to be behind barbed wire fences that are monitored by armed guards. The women not allowed to leave the factory freely when they want they are also not allowed to have visitors. This means they are not allowed to give out about the working conditions to anyone who may be in a position to help them.  The women are verbally abused, spat on, and beaten. They are not allowed to take breaks or go to the bathroom during their shifts, and are fined if they do so.

“In some Indonesian sweatshops, women were forced to take down their pants and reveal to factory doctors that they were menstruating in order to claim their legal right to menstrual-leave. Female sweatshop employees are forced to endure numerous instances of sexual harassment. Additionally, managers often make false promises for better jobs in return for sexual favours. In a Samoan apparel plant, the factory owner routinely entered the women’s barracks to watch them shower and dress. A 20/20 investigation in Saipan sweatshops discovered that pregnant employees were forced to have abortions in order to keep their jobs”

Children like this young girl are prized in the carpet industry for their small, fast fingers. Defenceless, they do what they're told, toiling in cramped, dark, and airless village huts from sunrise until well into the night. 

A 9-year-old girl toils under the hot sun, making bricks from morning to night, seven days a week. She was trafficked with her entire family from Bihar, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped states in India, and sold to the owner of a brick-making factory. With no means of escape, and unable to speak the local language, the family is isolated and lives in terrible conditions.

What Products are made in sweatshops?

  • Shoes, toys, rugs and clothes  

What brands use sweatshops?

  • Nike
  • Reebok
  • Adidas
  • New Balance
  • Asics
  • Converse 
  • Vans
  • GAP
  • Calvin Klein
  • Chanel
  • Gucci
  • Disney

1 comment:

  1. Well done Sinead and Roisin. Grest research and response to what you found out.
    Mrs L :)