Beyoncé just launched a new clothing range to “celebrate every woman” -- but the clothes are made by women trapped in sweatshop slavery and earning just 64 cents an hour.
The Sri Lankan women making Beyoncé’s Ivy Park sportswear clothes work long hours for a pittance. They get no sick pay, live in cramped conditions and are locked into their sleeping quarters at night.
“All we do is work, sleep, work, sleep,” says one machinist. “Many of the women are very scared.”
Beyoncé says she wants to support and inspire women -- and we believe her. In 2013, she helped to raise millions for struggling women and girls around the world. So it’s incomprehensible that she’s allowed slavery into her own supply chain. Let’s get her to do the right thing.
Beyoncé: if you truly want to celebrate every woman, pay your workers a proper living wage!
For Beyoncé, the Ivy Park clothing range is all about empowering women. “It’s really the essence: to celebrate every woman and the body she’s in while always striving to be better,” she has said. But a worker in a factory making Ivy Park clothing in Sri Lanka told reporters: “When they talk about women and empowerment, this is just for the foreigners. They want the foreigners to think everything is OK.”
Everything is not OK for the workers in Sri Lanka. The factory they work in is run by Sri Lankan company MAS Holdings, which pays its workers just $6.20 a day -- just a third of the amount experts say people need to live off in Sri Lanka. So the women are forced to live in cramped boarding houses and work more than 60 hours a week to make ends meet -- and they still don’t earn enough in a month to buy a single pair of Ivy Park leggings.
Beyoncé has the power to change all this -- by making sure workers in her supply chain are paid a proper living wage. And if she does, she won’t just be transforming the lives of the women who make her clothes -- she’ll also be helping to transform an industry that all too often relies on exploitation, sweatshop conditions and slavery for its profits.
As a community, we’ve campaigned hard for the rights of garment workers around the world. Hundreds of thousands of us joined a global call to demand that fashion companies sign up to a safety accord after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh -- and dozens of companies listened. Now let’s get Beyoncé to put people before profits.
Let’s tell Beyoncé to pay Ivy Park workers a proper living wage!