How APR empowers women through traditional textile crafts
Jakarta. With the worldwide demand for fashion products increasing every year, it is natural for consumers to ask questions about the fashion industry.
We might ask ourselves, “Who made our clothes?” Are workers treated well in the workplace or paid fairly? “.
According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, 300 million people work in the garment industry, with up to 60 million people directly employed. The majority of garment workers are low-skilled and have low-paying jobs. Many of those who work in the industry are young women.
Unfortunately, gender inequality remains an alarming problem in the textile industry.
In March 2017, CARE published a study on the prevalence and productivity cost of sexual harassment for the Cambodian garment industry. “Almost one in three garment factory workers said they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past 12 months,” CARE wrote in its report.
Sexual harassment is not the only thing that negatively impacts women garment workers.
The Garment Worker Diaries project found that less than half of the workers in the survey’s samples in Bangladesh felt safe in their factories, and four in ten said they had witnessed fires. The 2018 Global Slavery Index also named the garment industry as the second most predominant sector in modern slavery.
This paints a grim picture of the condition of women in the textile industry.
The April 23 “Women and Empowerment Through Textiles” webinar featured panelists who actively advocate for sustainability and women’s rights in the fashion industry.
Speakers included Asia Pacific Rayon (APR), Vice President of Communications and Sustainability Cherie Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of Perfect Fit Indonesia Tungga Dewi, Bintan Titisari of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and the founder of Closed Loop Fashion, Marina Chahboune. .
The webinar was part of Fashion Revolution Week, where the global community comes together to create a better and more transparent fashion industry. Fashion Revolution ID was hosted at the Jakarta Fashion Hub, a collaborative space launched by APR to support the textile and fashion industry.
According to Cherie, APR supports the promotion of a more sustainable fashion industry for Indonesia and gender equality throughout the textile value chain. APR produces biodegradable viscose rayon from certified forest plantations in Indonesia and promotes equal employment opportunities for female graduates in the region.
The company also seeks to empower women living around the mining site through capacity building and the acquisition of new skills in traditional batik crafts.
“We seek to empower women through entrepreneurship by developing traditional textile crafts. We worked with local women to improve their batik-making skills, ”Cherie said during the webinar.
The initiative focuses on Bono Batik – Riau’s signature batik design, notable for its patterns of flora and fauna, as well as its vibrant colors.
“We also introduced the cooperative of women batik makers to the use of natural dyes and viscose fabrics in their batik making,” Cherie said.
The company has also rolled out several other initiatives to empower women in the rural communities surrounding their operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, including female entrepreneurship.
“Beyond batik, we have also started supporting Siak’s women’s group on song market weaving while preserving local heritage,” Cherie said.
“We started a program with a group of women using the traditional songket weaving method. We want to support the communities around our operation in the promotion and preservation of artisanal textile crafts.
Last year, Asia Pacific Yarn (APY) started operating in Pangkalan Kerinci with the downstream goal of developing Riau into a satellite textile hub in Indonesia. APY provides the necessary facilities for the manufacture of fabrics and clothing.
“To achieve this ambition, we are partnering with schools and vocational institutions for scholarships and vocational training in the region,” Cherie said.
In addition, APR has supported community initiatives on integrated health services, particularly pregnant women and toddlers on access to primary health care, monitoring of growth and development of babies, and programs. on family nutrition.
“We support community health posts [or posyandu] with nutrition programs and early childhood interventions. These programs aim to empower women in the community to make better nutritional choices for their children and their homes, ”said Cherie.
Bintan Titisari, Textile Design Lecturer at ITB, stressed the importance of supporting traditional textile producers through capital or education to empower women in the industry. His research into dyes used in the local textile industry revealed that more sustainable options are difficult to access.
Closed Loop Fashion founder Marina Chahboune highlighted gender and societal issues in the textile industry. In Bangladesh, most of the workers are women.
“These are low-wage workers with no savings, and garment workers are not well supported and have no social safety net. If the government launches a campaign [in the future], I suggest that the wages of the workers be increased to an appropriate living wage to enable them to meet their monthly needs, ”she said.