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Workers’ rights: what is Oxfam doing?

At a global level, inequality affects women and girls the most. Almost all the super-rich are men. While women’s work is the bedrock of our economies, they do not see the benefits. That’s why we’re tackling poverty in the fashion industry.

Oxfam has stood alongside garment workers and campaigned in the labour rights space for more than 20 years. From Nike Watch to sandblasting, from the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord to supply chain transparency, Oxfam has a proud history of standing up for workers’ rights around the world.

In 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 1100 Bangladeshi workers and injuring 2500. Oxfam Australia is working along other international and local organisations to persuade major companies to improve the rights and conditions of workers; and to be transparent in their supply chains. Transparency allows for surprise and independent factory visits by auditors to check working conditions and the claims of clothing companies and empowers workers to take unresolved problems directly to the companies that are sourcing from their factory.

What She Makes

The women who make our clothes do not make enough to live on. Big brands are part of a system that pays poverty wages.

We demand big clothing brands publicly commit to paying living wages to the women who make our clothes.

Together, we ask the brands to develop credible, time-bound plans to map out how they will achieve that goal. Make brands rethink #whatshemakes.

Who we’re watching

  • Kmart
  • Target
  • Big W
  • Cotton On
  • Best & Less
  • Bonds (owned by Hanes Brands)
  • City Chic (owned by Specialty Fashion Group)
  • Just Jeans, Peter Alexander, Jay Jays (owned by the Just Group)
  • David Jones
  • Country Road
  • Myer
  • Jeanswest
  • Gorman, Dangerfield (owned by Factory X)
  • Forever New
  • Millers, Rivers, Katies (owned by Noni B)
  • H&M
  • Zara

What we’re doing

Supporting unions

We’re supporting workers to form into networks and unions where they can actively work together to uphold their rights.

Supporting women’s rights

Women make up approximately 80% of the global workforce in the clothing manufacturing sector and are often subjected to greater difficulties than men, including sexual harassment and discrimination against women workers who become pregnant. We’re encouraging discussion in the unions and organisations on how to best support women’s rights.


The clothing we wear is made by women who receive poverty wages — but we can’t wear this injustice in silence. Brands listen to the people who buy their products. We all buy clothes so we stand with the women who make our clothes, demanding to know #whatshemakes.

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