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Report highlights plight of women workers in Asian factories

A recent report, even though 80 to 85 per cent of the workers in the Asian garment factories are women, they are treated badly. The Clean Clothes Campaign in its report 'Foul Play' highlighted that only 2.5 per cent of the revenue from the sale of Nike or Adidas shoe is paid to women engaged in the production of these shoes. According to the report, even though the marketing budget for both companies has risen by above a fifth, it is mostly spent on marketing gimmicks such as the Dream Crazier video from Nike targeted at sportswomen.

Almost every sports brand has production lines in Asian factories including Nike, Puma, Asics, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour and New Balance with varying levels of commitment to working conditions. The women employed in these companies mostly work in factories on the outskirts of large cities. They stay in rows of concrete bungalows, each small room filled with a double bed shared by two or more women. They even have to hide their pregnancies else they are terminated from work.

In 2015, a United Nations report found the abortion rate among garment workers in Cambodia is more than three times higher than in the general female population. The report also highlighted the 2013 incident in Bangladesh where many promises were made by clothing but very few fulfilled.