Against violence to seamstresses

"Workers are silenced by violence or threats. We are subject to sexual harassment by superiors in the factories. If we resist, we are threatened or dismissed. That is why only few dare to talk about their experiences."
- Employment lawyer Kalpona Akter

#AgainstViolence to seamstresses

A large part of our fashion is produced in Bangladesh and India - mainly by women. Many of them experience violence in the factories regularly. Maltreatment and beatings, sexual harassment, insults and threats are commonplace. There is hardly any support for women who have experienced violence as it is a taboo to talk about it.

Forms of gender-based violence:

  • physical abuse such as violent assaults, bodily injuries, murder
  • sexual violence such as rape, sexual harassment, verbal abuse
  • psychological violence such as bullying, stalking, coercion, psychological abuse, intimidation
  • structural violence such as economic/financial exploitation, denial of access to education

Worldwide, violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations. In countries such as India and Bangladesh, studies highlight a worrying situation: 75% of the female textile workers interviewed stated that they had already been harassed at work by their superiors who are mostly male (see FWF 2013).

The power structures in the factories reflect the low status of women in the patriarchal societies of India and Bangladesh. Here women are subordinate to men. In this environment, they find little support to defend themselves and change their situation. They remain silent out of shame and fear of losing their jobs or retaliation. There are hardly any trade unions who face this issue. Existing laws - if they exist at all – are mostly not respected. In order to combat gender-based violence, action is needed at many levels. Together we break the silence.

Our goals

With our campaign #Against Violence against Textile Workers, we fight for humane working conditions for the workers in India and Bangladesh - free of physical or mental violence. In Germany, we engage in educational work in order to leverage for textile industry and politics to take responsibility. We support activities of our partner organisations in the Global South in order to pressure the textile industry and policy makers to take action. That is what we want to achieve:

  1. Politics, businesses and the workers' representatives enter into a dialogue and act together.
  2. Gender-based violence is socially recognised as a problem; education and campaigning work increase the pressure to act.
  3. Local women are strengthened: through training, establishment of focal points, access to legal support and freedom of organisation.


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Our activities and measures


Take a stand #against violence

Get actively involved with us #against violence! You support affected women and contribute to our project against violence towards women. Show solidarity against violence towards women.

Join in…


© FEMNET | Kathrin Brunnhofer

Inform, enlighten, break with taboos

With lecture tours, campaigning, and studies, we call upon the public, politics and business in Germany to take action.

Active in Germany…


Mitarbeiterinnen der BCSW mit einem Plakat


Empowering women, creating structures

Our partner organisations educate women textile workers about their rights and establish dialogue structures between politicians, textile companies, factory owners and trade unions.