Ethical Fashion Challenge

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Day 3: Living Wage

It’s Day 3 of your challenge!

Are you starting to repeat your items now? Some of us might feel awkward wearing the same item, multiple times in a row… but it’s also a useful opportunity to remember that many people around the world today might only own a few items of clothing.

Today you’ll learn about living wage. Did you know that the estimated living wage for a garment worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh is $7 a day? Though most are paid well below this amount. TIP: Ask your friends to sponsor you $7 a day for the length of your challenge!

Today’s topic is LIVING WAGE!

Our prayer is that this takes you deeper in your understanding of the global fashion industry and gives you the ability to speak even more confidently about the role we as consumers can play in ending exploitation.

A living wage is one which is sufficient for the worker to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their family. This means food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing and other essential needs… with some money left over to save for unexpected events. A living wage is recognised as a human right. Yet, most garment sector workers receive wages well below this.

The global fashion industry continues to grow each year. So, payment of a living wage has the power to transform millions of lives and nations, too. When workers are paid a fair living wage, they have the ability to lift themselves out of poverty, and at the same time, drive the economy within their own communities and help stop the poverty cycle in its tracks.

So… how is the global fashion industry tracking?

This area remains one of the most disappointing across the scope of Baptist World Aid’s ethical research. Just 5% of companies assessed could demonstrate they were paying a living wage to all workers at their final stage of production. However, the good news is that companies are, increasingly, taking the challenge of paying a living wage seriously. And the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report found 48% of companies reported that they had started to develop a living wage methodology, with 24% of companies publishing a commitment to pay a living wage.

The Christina Jessica diaries.
We met Christina Jessica when we visited Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India. Tamil Nadu is at the heart of India’s textile production and Christina Jessica’s experience is one shared by thousands of girls just like her in this region. Today, Christina Jessica continues her story about her life as a worker in the global fashion supply chain.

“I was promised a daily wage of 100 rupees ($2) and an 8-hour workday. I was heartbroken to discover that this was a lie.
My days were long; my working conditions, poor. My new reality was nothing like the promised life my family and I had hoped for. In the end, I found myself working brutal, 12-hour days, only to earn 40 rupees (not even $1). Before I started, the labour broker had told me that if I worked for five years in this place, I would receive a bonus of 50,000 rupees. In these back-breaking conditions, I began to wonder if this was even possible… but it was too late.
I was hooked, driven by my hope in that bonus. The light at the end of this awful tunnel. I was as good as trapped.”

Challenge yourself to go deeper still

It’s time to show your tag! Today or tomorrow, why not wear your clothes inside out (or with the tags out) to show what brands you’re wearing? You’ll find it’s a great ethical fashion conversation starter! Post about it your experience on social media and call brands to account.


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