The apparel industry has been historically a female-dominated industry. While being a labor-intensive industry, recruitment of manpower has always been prioritizing women in the frontline.
According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, the apparel industry has provided jobs to over 75% of women in the global manufacturing supply chain. Being one of the most stable industries in the world, the industry has assisted in escalating many families from poverty, to provide to their children with food and education, and to promote their independence and individual growth.
The experiences of women in this industry is a reality for most apparel manufacturing sites in different parts of the world. Poverty wage, the dreadful working condition, neglected health and safety, denied breaks and even abuses are common problems to name a few.
Even with their dominance in the industry, they significantly earn less than their male counterparts. They face consistent discrimination by being stuck with the lowest paying jobs in the industry, with the slightest chance of promotion. They have evidently lower risk security and higher risk of losing their jobs. Their dominance never equated to them being marginalized in their own industry.
Despite the exploitation, women’s dominance and integration in the workforce has been vital to female empowerment and in leveraging gender equality in the global workforce. The global apparel industry has empowered women who came from poor backgrounds. Low skilled workers were given overwhelming opportunities to find work and earn their own salaries. Unskilled women, who may not have been able to achieve a decent job on their own, may find their place in the industry otherwise.
A large reserve of female laborers has thrived to apparel manufacturing havens with their willingness to take the job for low wages. In many developing countries, recruitment of women has been easy as they are more than willing to take whatever jobs that are available. Women, especially mothers, were given the chance to contribute to their families economically.
For many women, the apparel industry has always meant opportunity. Recruitment of workers for the apparel industry requires no formal education or training that made this industry open door to millions of women who longs to support their families.
A lump sum of this workers is those “invisible workers” who were permitted to work in the comfort of their homes. 60 per cent of apparel production in Asia and Latin America were paid work from female homeworkers. Women’s representation as a significant majority of homeworkers has built the very foundation of the global apparel trade.
Integration of women in the industry has been transformative to the potential of the women workforce and revolutionizing to the current roles of women in the society.
Recruitment of women in the apparel industry has been vital in engaging more women to join the workforce and reimagine their capabilities.
Behind every clothes we wear is a woman who struggles to uplift their way of living and to be productive in their own sense.