The children and women who need the spotlight are the millions and millions around the world who are virtual or real slaves in the sweatshops that exist primarily in third world countries.
One of the things I like about Toastmasters is that it constantly opens doors, and inspires me. Either through speeches that I hear or speeches that I give I am freshly exposed to look at something new and challenge my thinking.
Fact: 85% of employees in sweatshops are women, frequently sexually harassed, paid 10 to 20 cents per hour if they are paid at all, in many many situations they are contractual slaves who are not paid. They live in worker dormitories, surrounded by barbed wire, armed guards and cannot have outside contact or visitors. They work 16 hour days or more, and are fined if they take bathroom breaks or talk.
This week I needed to give a speech where I did some research, provided statistics etc on the topic. As usual I struggled to find a topic that grabbed me, and that I hoped would engage the listeners in my club. Finally after discarding some other themes, I chose “sweatshops” because it was a current news story that everyone was familiar with, and secondly because I realized that my understanding was so slight and I needed to or should know more. I felt like I am sitting here in Canada and blessed because I was born here, while millions are barely getting through life just because of where they were born.
Fact: An NBA Jersey that sells for $140 results in only 24 cents for the worker!
What an eye-opener it was for me as I did the research for this speech this week. Honestly I would like to have practiced more, and been able to give a powerpoint kind of presentation but none of it mattered. The scope of the numbers, and the understanding I gained from my brief research into sweatshops touched me more than I realized before I spoke. When I did my speech I was so grateful that somehow the unfairness and size of the abuse faced by women and children in incomprehensible numbers did come out.
Fact: 250 children worldwide are employed in sweatshops working in dirty, filthy, and unsafe conditions.
There are a lot of education websites on the internet talking about sweatshops, be prepared to surprised, but now is a great time because if we share our outrage with each other, then we can motivate change. Change is possible because ugliness exists in ignorance, in the spotlight of media working conditions, wages and sexual harassment of workers will shrink.
Let’s all Learn, Share, and support change by starting talking to each other, and using the tools we have, if we aren’t complacent, we will motivate the spotlight we seek.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you are motivated to learn more.
Here is where you might start Green America.
- Are You Supporting Sweatshops? (everydayabolitionist.com)
Thanks for posting this. Since the recent disaster in Bangladesh we are checking our threads, and, yep, feeling a little guilty. The world needs to start boycotting the companies who benefit from this horrible exploitation.
I did a speech on this at Toastmasters recently, most of us are supporting sweatshops unknowingly, but we have the ability to learn and influence change. Now is the best time also because of the Bangladesh tragedy, because of the spotlight.
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