Of course items made in North America are more expensive. But are they worth the extra cost? I think so and here’s why: Cheaper goods made in China, Taiwan, India etc are literally made on the backs of women in the developing world. How does Wal-Mart, Target, H&M or any of the other big box stores sell a sundress for $12.00 or child’s winter jacket for $19.99 especially when you consider the additional shipping and import duty taxes on those items? It’s because women in sweatshops around the world “slave” to make those items. Bangladesh’s garment industry workers are the lowest paid in the world – earning an average of $25.00 a month. That income isn’t sufficient for these women to support their own families. And that’s not the only problem … these women are often subjected to horrendous working conditions. Can you imagine being “locked” in your workspace and prevented from using the washroom for extended periods? They are also often the victims of sexual harassment, violent union busting and other forms of coercion. What can Western women do to advocate for change? We can STOP buying the ridiculously cheap products from developing countries. If we all refuse to shop at outlets that purchase from sweatshops, then these factories will be forced to change. You’re probably asking yourself if cutting off the income to these factories will lead to further economic hardship for the women we are trying to help. Yes it will BUT if this short-term pain leads to long-term gains in terms of higher wages and better working conditions would it be worth it? Absolutely! And while you’re pressuring for change overseas, how about supporting North American made goods? Yes, they may cost slightly more but the workers are earning a fair wage and are enjoying basic employee rights. Besides, the North American economy could use the boost at the moment. Local jobs are created when demand for locally made products increases. Something for you to keep in mind the next time you’re tempted to purchase that bargain from overseas.
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