“This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” has been a slogan for those who support women’s rights. The phrase, printed on t-shirts created by The Fawcett Society, stands as a reminder that anyone can be a feminist and stand in support of equal rights for women everywhere. The shirts recently made headlines in the U.K. after a group of politicians were photographed wearing them for Elle Magazine.
According to a report from The Mail on Sunday, however, the t-shirts carrying that phrase may have been hypocritically created by women in sweatshop-like conditions. An investigation by a reporter at The Mail reportedly found the shirts “were being produced on a factory on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius where the women machinists sleep 16 to a room.”
The workers also reportedly earn about £120 each month, or a quarter of the country’s average wage. According to Gawker, the shirts are produced in Mauritius for about the equivalent of $14, and they are subsequently sold for about $70.
The Fawcett Society has acknowledged the allegations against them in regards to the factory conditions, but claims the organization was unaware of the realities.
Dr. Eva Neitzert, deputy chief executive at the Fawcett Society, had the following to say: “We have been very disappointed to hear the allegations that conditions in the Mauritius factory may not adhere to the ethical standards that we, as the Fawcett Society, would require of any product that bears our name. At this stage, we require evidence to back up the claims being made by a journalist at the Mail on Sunday. However, as a charity that campaigns on issues of women’s economic equality, we take these allegations extremely seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them.”
The Fawcett Society is also investigating Whistles, the store where the shirts are sold, for further ethical concerns.
Photo Credit: Craig Hibbert, Elle UK