Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Study to investigate ‘invisible’ women in supply chains receives almost £1.3m in funding

An academic at the University of Nottingham has been awarded almost £1.3 million to investigate the specific threats posed to female garment workers in supply chains across the world.

Dr Sabina Lawreniuk has been recognised by the prestigious UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship programme and is among 84 promising early career researchers that have received a fellowship today, totalling £98 million.

The four-year research project will examine garment manufacturing in the Midlands, UK, as well as in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Jordan. These four producer countries represent different sites in the evolution of supply chain outsourcing, where 1 million people work, making clothes and shoes for leading UK brands including Marks and Spencer, Topshop and ASOS.

Dr Lawreniuk said: “Worldwide, 70 million people work producing clothing and shoes – 80% of these workers are women. The industry is worth US$2 trillion per year, yet workers receive poverty wages to live and work in dangerous conditions, with malnutrition, mass fainting, reproductive and mental health crises, and sexual and physical abuse all reported to be commonplace.

“Although workers in supply chains are vital to our everyday lives, we know very little about the women who make our clothes and shoes. Gendered data is not available and so these women are simply invisible.

“Without systemic data, the problems that lessen women’s quality of life in the garment industry are not fully known and are therefore hard to address. This Fellowship addresses this knowledge and practice gap by generating evidence and promoting action on the specific threats posed to female garment workers.”

Dr Lawreniuk will build a team of early career researchers in the School of Geography to conduct the investigation, who will work alongside Dr Nik Hammer at the University of Leicester and in-country partners in each of three international locations.

The study will include in-depth and ethnographic investigation of women’s health and wellbeing at 8 industrial sites in each country, before examining the (inter)national organisation of labour and trade governance, to understand the institutional processes that make and unmake healthy working bodies.

By assessing a cross-section of the global workforce, the team hope to identify the complex, more-than-local factors that perpetuate women’s vulnerability in garment work and target action to address the systemic causes of inequity within supply chains.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI Chief Executive, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with the freedom and generous long-term support to progress adventurous new ideas, and to move across disciplinary boundaries and between academia and industry.

“The fellows announced today provide shining examples of the talented researchers and innovators across every discipline attracted to pursue their ideas in universities and businesses throughout the UK, with the potential to deliver transformative research that can be felt across society and the economy.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £33.60 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.