Women-Centered Response During the Pandemic

About the Initiative

Women-Centered Response during the Pandemic led by Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) will build leadership of women garment workers to lead the fight for decent work at national and international levels; investigate and document cases of gender-based violence and harassment in factories (which have become more egregious during the pandemic); and organize women workers to negotiate and demand brand accountability. AFWA and its Women’s Leadership Committee will also work to ensure that post-COVID recovery plans include a gender focus and that a gender lens will be used in evaluating and implementing related remedies, policies, and relief.

Why is now the time to act?     

Firstly, if we don’t act now, women will continue to be disproportionately impacted by patterns of violence in garment supply chains, as they make up the vast majority of garment workers and are rarely promoted to leadership positions in both factories and trade unions. Secondlythe rising incidence of Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) during COVID-19 — which negatively impacts women’s health, participation in the labor force and the financial stability of low-income households  will remain unaddressed. Finally, because the patriarchal social norms, which manifest as gendered hierarchies in garment production lines, will remain unchallenged if we don’t take action now.

What is your vision of change for the global economy with this initiative?

1) Creating a mechanism for preventing GBVH in garment supply chains by strengthening women workers’ organizational power and building grassroots worker-led institutions to address workplace violence.
2) Fostering women’s leadership in the labor movement by developing and strengthening the Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC), which is the only women’s industrial bargaining committee that exists for global bargaining in the garment sector.
3) Ensuring corporate accountability to end GBVH across supply chains by developing a GBVH prevention and redressal approach that can be replicated across industries.

How do you plan to leverage RVF support?

By amplifying our campaign to promote the Safe Circle approach, Women’s Leadership Committee, and the GBVH Documentation Tool through both social media and traditional media platforms. 

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