International Women’s Day: Let’s fight for rights of female supply chain workers

Today, 8th March, marks International Women's Day. A day which highlights the continued struggle for women's rights around the world. First celebrated in 1909 as “International Working Women’s Day”, the emphasis of the day has evolved throughout the years but maintained the same goal - to fight for equal social and political rights for women.

We thought we’d highlight the International Women’s Day issue closest to our own core philosophy – the rights and fair treatment of female workers around the world.

HELPING FIGHT FOR RIGHTS OF FEMALE SUPPLY CHAIN WORKERS

One of the main issues that comes to mind when thinking about fair rights for women in work is pay. Receiving a fair living wage remains a struggle for women in almost every industry and country, even when undertaking the same roles as male colleagues. Years of challenging this inequality has seen major improvements in the gender pay gap, however it has been estimated that men and women’s pay will not be equal until 2041 in the UK and will not be equal until approximately 2186 worldwide. So, there is a long way to go in achieving equal pay, and hopefully days such as International Women’s Day can increase the awareness and pressure needed to speed up this progress.

From the stats above, it’s clear to see that women in the UK (and many other western countries), despite encountering disadvantages, do have increasing opportunity and power in the working world, which is in drastic contrast to many women working in developing countries who can often be denied even the most basic of worker rights.

Not being given the required safety gear when working in potentially dangerous environments, physical and sexual violence, and being paid slave wages are just a few of many obstacles many women workers are facing in the lower ends of the supply chain.

What should brands be doing to make sure the women within their supply chain are protected?

With advanced and affordable technology, brands can take the responsibility upon themselves to ensure practices throughout their entire supply chain are suitable and fair. Initiatives such as our Ethical Supplier Programme allows brands to easily monitor the working conditions of their individual suppliers through listening to the workers themselves, and make changes accordingly.

The reaction to today’s International Women’s Day has been stronger than ever; there’s no doubt that gender equality is of key public concern. But it is the female workers who experience first-hand unfair treatment in the workplace on a daily basis, whose voices need to be heard. Our tool and others fighting for their rights are helping to bring the risks and issues to light so that consumers, brands and governments can target their initiatives more effectively.