The Struggle Between Safety & Fair Pay for Women in Bangladesh

Garment workers in Bangladesh work in unsafe conditions, forced overtime and poverty pay

The garment workers of Bangladesh who have survived unspeakable hardships in the textile industry are struggling find the balance between safety and fair pay. Because of the global market, companies search out the cheapest means of manufacturing. But since the horror and tragedy of Rana Plaza, which is now a mass grave and has not seen any indication of resolve, companies expect safety compliance that have similar standards to the buyers country, Europe is a strong example. How is it possible to ensure the safety of the labourers if the company owners can’t afford to implement these safety standards? It is well known that infrastructure in Bangladesh does not meet safety standards, especially in accordance to how many people and working equipment is jammed into the rooms.

Young workers at a garment factory in Dhaka give jeans a "distressed" look by spraying them with potassium permanganate, a toxic substance that can damage the human nervous system. Only one of the young men is wearing a protective mask. Image credit: Justine Redman

Young workers at a garment factory in Dhaka give jeans a “distressed” look by spraying them with potassium permanganate, a toxic substance that can damage the human nervous system. Only one of the young men is wearing a protective mask.
Image credit: Justine Redman

The garment workers of Bangladesh do not want to lose their marketplace in the production of clothing for the fashion industry. There was a resonating line in this small documentary that rings true, “Made in Bangladesh does not mean made with blood, ..made in Bangladesh means made with pride.” It’s true. Just because these women face horrible conditions, and there are companies that are working to better this situation, does not mean that they take any less pride in what they are doing. They are very aware of how large this industry is and the influence that goes with it. These women are happy knowing that they are apart of something on a global scale. When negative marketing impacts the choice made by companies to pull their business out of places like this due to demand and safety concerns, it has a major negative impact on everyone who lives there.

I can only hope that this generation does well to inform the next generation of these atrocities to other human beings, and to teach them the knowledge and skills to be able to understand how their decision making impacts the rest of the world. Change is the only constant, lets just get it pointed in the right direction.

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One thought on “The Struggle Between Safety & Fair Pay for Women in Bangladesh

  1. The documentary “The True Cost” opened my eyes to the terrible price paid by garment workers for “fast fashion.” It might take a bit of effort, but we should all contact the toll-free numbers at the brands we buy and ask for disclosure of their policies regarding manufacturing practices and environmental impact.

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