Feminist Zehra Khan’s battle against the clothing industry

Discussion - 

How do you change a billion-dollar industry? In many countries around the world, the women working in the clothing industry experience poor working conditions, low wages, and long hours. But feminist activists like Zehra Khan in Pakistan are fighting for their rights.

In an interview with special guest Zehra Khan, we will discuss her experience of feminist activism and gender discrimination in the fashion industry. Many women in the garment sector are not able to let their voice be heard. Some of their experiences will be presented in a short monologue, by actress Jenny Mijnhijmer. Then, with our panel, we will explore the possibilities for positively impacting the relationship between the fashion industry, its workers, and the environment. What can we as consumers do?

About the speakers

  • Zehra Khan began organizing home-based women workers in Sindh, Pakistan in 2001, which in 2005 developed into the Home Based Women Workers Federation. Recently, the HBWWF had a huge victory: this past January, legislation proposed by HBWWF was approved, finally granting home-based women workers in the Sindh province the same rights as other workers.
  • Jenny Mijnhijmer works in the theatre as a writer and actress and teaches at HKU and the Schrijversvakschool. In a monologue, she will portray the stories of other women in the garment sector, whose voices would otherwise not be heard.
  • Shikha Sethia has done research into labour rights and corporate accountability in garment sector value chains. She currently works for Mama Cash, the oldest international fund for feminist activism in the world.
  • Kirsten van den Hul was recently installed as a member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). Van Den Hul is a feminist and a ‘change agent’ who connects the worlds of activism, business and politics.
  • Schone Kleren Campagne (Clean Clothes Campaign) fights for better working conditions in the garment sector. In a mini-workshop, they explain the importance of consumers asking critical questions and they give advice on how to do this.
  • The evening will be moderated by Ama van Dantzig. She is co-founer of Dr. Monk, an international innovation agency. Spending her time in Accra and Amsterdam, she builds bridges between different worlds.

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