New report reveals the mistreatment of garment workers

Over 540 women in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia were interviewed over the course of 12 months about their working conditions

Following the tragic Rana Plaza disaster of 2013, where a Bangladeshi garment factory collapsed killing 1,138 people, there has been an increase in the demand for transparency when it comes to where our clothes are made. 

In the hopes of highlighting the working and living conditions of female garment workers, Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) has released a report on the findings of its landmark investigation. The first of its kind, it was created in partnership with C&A Foundation, and Fashion Revolution. Visiting three of the world’s biggest fast fashion export countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, and India – the results are unsurprisingly awful. 

Documenting 540 garment workers (180 in each country) over the course of 12 months, MFO’s researchers spoke to women about their socioeconomic status and documented individual stories with regards to fashion factory work. While all of the workers were severely underpaid, women in Bangladesh were among the lowest paid – receiving the equivalent of less than a dollar per hour. Not much better, in India it was $2.27, and $2.53 in Cambodia. 

While the wages were extremely low, conversely the hours were very high. The results in Bangladesh showed that the more hours women were working, the less they earned. Over the 12 months, Bangladeshi women worked over the legal limit of 60 hours a week for more than half of the time. 

Following the release of the report, Fashion Revolution – the initiative behind the #whomademyclothes campaign – will use the research as a driving force to bring change to those suffering at the hands of the garment industry. 

View the full report here