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03rd Nov 2014

Controversy Over Feminism Top As Reports Claim It Was Produced in “Sweatshop” Conditions

The t-shirt was made in collaboration with Elle and Whistles.


A sweatshirt that was designed in order to raise money for women’s rights is surrounded in controversy this week after it has been alleged that the jumper was produced in “sweatshop” conditions.

The Fawcett Society worked in collaboration with Elle and Whistles for the jumper whose slogan reads; “This is what a feminist looks like” but according to the Mail on Sunday the item was produced by workers who were in “sweatshop” conditions.

The newspaper claims that the tops, which are available as both t-shirts and jumpers and which politicians Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman were snapped wearing for Elle were made by women in a factory who earned just 62p per hour.

The paper also alleges that the women who worked on the jumper were forced to sleep in rooms packed with 16 other workers.

nick clegg
Politicians in the UK were pictured for Elle wearing the t-shirts. 

The popular top is on sale for £45 and all profits go to the Fawcett Society which is a leading charity in the UK for women’s equality and rights. A statement by the society in response to the claims states: “Upon receiving samples of the range at our offices in early October we noted that the t-shirts had in fact been produced in Mauritius, upon which we queried (over email) the ethical credentials of the Mauritian factory, and the fabric used.

“We were assured by Whistles (over email) that the Mauritian factory: ‘is a fully audited, socially and ethical compliant factory’.

“We have been very disappointed to hear the allegations that conditions in the Mauritius factory may not adhere to the ethical standards that we, as the Fawcett Society, would require of any product that bears our name.

“As a charity that campaigns on issues of women’s economic equality, we take these allegations extremely seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them.

“If any concrete and verifiable evidence of mistreatment of the garment producers emerges, we will require Whistles to withdraw the range with immediate effect and donate part of the profits to an ethical trading campaigning body,” it read.

Meanwhile, president of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Union Fayzal Ally Beegun told the Mail on Sunday; “The workers in this factory are treated very poorly and the fact that the politicians in England are making a statement using these sweatshop t-shirts is appalling.”