Gap Shop In Bangladesh

Submitted By Kitty1499
Words: 630
Pages: 3

Anthropology Project #4


Whether they are rich or poor, almost everyone owns at least one item of clothing. Clothing is something humans create, trade, and sell around the world. Clothes help humans to create their own personal identity, to represent a country or brand, to keep them warm or cool – they’re an important piece of humanity. If I look in my closet, I see a comfy gray sweatshirt embossed with the Gap logo. It cost $15 at the local Gap store in Buffalo, New York. This sweatshirt was made in Bangladesh. Purchasing this sweatshirt not only connected me to the economy of Buffalo and the brand – but to Bangladesh, their economy, and the sweatshop workers who, unfortunately, made the sweatshirt. Sweatshops are a major problem – especially in Bangladesh. “A sweatshop is a factory where workers – particularly women and children – are employed for long hours under difficult conditions and at low pay,” (Warms 312). Bangladeshi suppliers will work up to 16 hours a day for only half the legal overtime rate (1). “Excessive overtime is a breach of the industry’s ethical trading initiative and Indian labor law,” (1). This is a very serious problem. When a popular brand like Gap is connected to breaches of law, it sparks international conflicts. Some consumers in the U.S. don’t want to purchase Gap products anymore for fear of aiding/supporting a brand without decency or moral standards. One of Gap’s manufacturers, Viva Global produces 1% of the country’s output (2).With a shrinking customer base, the economy in Bangladesh suffers. Sweatshop staffs aren’t just overworked without fair compensation – they are often beaten and abused. Jawal Hussain from one of the local factories explained that “there were two or three people who objected to the overtime and they were beaten up and now they have left the company,” (1). Many women aren’t given maternity leave, and are forced to work until they are fatigued to the point of fainting (and some even miscarry). They are slapped and beaten if they ask for time off from work (2). These workers only make between $0.20-$0.24 an hour. My $15 sweatshirt could give one worker enough money to compensate for 75 hours worth of work (at the rate of $0.20 an hour). This statistic is outrageous and horrible. The integration of resources, labor, and capital into a global network is globalization (Warms 117). With today’s advancements in transportation efficiency, clothing from Bangladesh can easily be shipped from one country to another – to