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19/07/2015 — auf Deutsch lesen

Femnet: More than just a seal

Hands of a woman employed in a spinning mill Photo: Dr. Gisela Burckhardt, Femnet e.V.

Hands of a woman employed in a spinning mill Photo: Dr. Gisela Burckhardt, Femnet e.V.

Accommodation for those on Sumangali schemes Photo: Dr. Gisela Burckhardt, Femnet e.V.

Accommodation for those on Sumangali schemes Photo: Dr. Gisela Burckhardt, Femnet e.V.

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Accidents in textile and clothing factories in producer countries, or news of disastrous working conditions, CSR initiatives and corporate responsibility? Femnet e.V. is getting involved in promoting long-term change in the textile industry and has set itself three goals on which to focus. Through its education project entitled 'FairSchnitt: Studying for a socially fair fashion industry' it is addressing fashion industry students at German universities.

The project provides these future managers of the industry with information about the global production chain in order to encourage a sense of responsibility for ecologically sustainable and socially acceptable working conditions in global fashion. Subjects such as the rights of seamstresses in supplier businesses, social and environmental standards in the supply chain and the responsibility of companies for their effects on society are tackled in teaching modules and offered in the form of workshops for educational establishments. In addition, a large database of publications, films etc. is available.

The second goal is to support the campaign for cleaner clothing – the 'Clean Clothes Campaign' (CCC). Here Femnet is championing the cause of social standards in the clothing industry and specifically of a living wage for employees and the right of seamstresses to form trades unions.

The CCC is a network through which more than 300 trades unions, non-governmental organisations and consumer associations, Church groups, One World Shops, research institutes and women's rights organisations are working together in close cooperation with partner organisations in the developing world and in transition economies. The aim of the CCC is to improve working conditions in the global clothing and sports goods industries by keeping end-users informed, negotiating with businesses, supporting workers' organisations and running public campaigns.

The third focus is the Solidarity Fund. This collects donations for organisations in Bangladesh and India that are advising seamstresses of their rights and providing legal support where required. Through its own conferences, exhibitions and open forums with representatives of the worlds of business, science, trade unions, politics and higher education, it is ensuring continual critical examination of the status quo.

In addition, Femnet is also active in a number of other networks and is a member of the voluntary Partnership for Sustainable Textiles.

[ www.femnet-ev.de]

A nationwide German charitable association for women's rights, Femnet e.V. was founded in 2007 and campaigns for women's economic, social and cultural rights as elements of universal human rights. The society provides particular support to women in the Asian clothing industry who are fighting for their rights, and it plays an educational and awareness-building role in Germany with regard to working conditions in the clothing industry.