British media are echoing the claim that the t-shirts Ed Milliband, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman posed with a few days ago were made in Mauritius by workers being paid 62p an hour. Fawcett Society, the organisation behind this campaign, promised that they take this allegations very seriously and they are looking into it. The t-shirt says “This is what a feminist looks like”. Each t-shirt costs £45.
It is true that the working conditions are not the exception, but the norm in this sector. Having said that, it has been clumsy. And it is Fawcett’s fault.
The net median income in the UK is about £26,000 a year. One in five or 13 million people live in poverty in the UK. More than half of them have jobs. The five richest families own more than the poorest 20% of the population. And women are paying the price of austerity more than men. Fawcett Society denounced in 2012 that women were shouldering 70% of the budget cuts, which are especially harsh on single mothers.
Yes, workers’ rights must have been respected. In addition to that, however, apparently nobody noticed that not many people in this country can spend £45 on a t-shirt. Or, even worse, they did notice but did not care because a feminist must look like a wealthy man. I’ll keep supporting the cause as well as Fawcett’s work, but I think this campaign has been clumsy and for once politicians are not the ones to blame.