One of the biggest problems of the fashion system today are the living and working conditions of the people who manufacture clothes. 80% of those who sew clothes are women [1]. The reasons why mainly women are hired is because they are more controllable and sub-missive than men and do not have the courage to ask for more rights. They are controlled through threats, sexual and mental violence. Social sustainability in the fashion industry can only be reached by giving female workers the access to new ways of thinking and understanding, meeting and create awareness, to be able to ask themselves for better rights, while at the same time helping them to deal with the difficult conditions they have to face every day. Research [10] [6] [9] [13] claims that many of the desired results can be achieved through the action of knitting. Knitting, as much as other crafts, has historically represented the way women, through knitting circles, have been able to socialize, exchange ideas and knowledge and gain social confidence. On an individual level, knitting through some easy steps brings to the realization of personal potential, confidence, a sense of self-worth and self-esteem [9]. On a physical level, the activity of knitting has also been demonstrated to help release serotonin, contribute to the decrease of heart rate, and help the management of stress [13]. The article reports the development and results of a practicebased research that consisted in the creation of a circle entirely dedicated to women garment workers which includes knitting training, which provides the materials and tools to do it and that involves women in educational programs including sex education, politics, and law courses, and give a free space for communication. The primary research for a future development of the project has taken place in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where many garment factories are located. Considering the sanitary emergency that occurred, through the help of WISE, a local association working for women empowerment, and Gomitolorosa, an Italian association which donated 200 balls of wool, a video training for ten Ethiopian women has been designed and the actual training took place in November 2020 at WISE headquarter. The workshop was held by eleven women, coming from different villages and different communities, religions, social status. The observed results of this primary research have been supported by qualitative data collected and analysed through structured surveys directed to trainees, trainers, and the director of WISE. Despite the differences of background, and despite not knowing each other before the start of training, the coordinators reported that trainees easily created a fairly united group of people who helped each other and that under normal conditions would not have been able to interact due to social and political restrictions. On the evidence of the reached results the article proposes a possible scenario for further development of the research by illustrating the research design of pilot actions to be held as soon as the sanitary emergency will be over. This second step will help experiment and research for a more structured knitting circle in the future, which will be addressed, in a third phase, to reach a more systemic set of educational actions that could generate a bigger positive impact on women garment workers and on the community around them, being also sustainable in the long-term.

WOMEN THREADS. KNITTING CIRCLES FOR WOMEN GARMENT WORKERS' WELL-BEING

G. M. Conti;M. Motta;E. Borsato
2021-01-01

Abstract

One of the biggest problems of the fashion system today are the living and working conditions of the people who manufacture clothes. 80% of those who sew clothes are women [1]. The reasons why mainly women are hired is because they are more controllable and sub-missive than men and do not have the courage to ask for more rights. They are controlled through threats, sexual and mental violence. Social sustainability in the fashion industry can only be reached by giving female workers the access to new ways of thinking and understanding, meeting and create awareness, to be able to ask themselves for better rights, while at the same time helping them to deal with the difficult conditions they have to face every day. Research [10] [6] [9] [13] claims that many of the desired results can be achieved through the action of knitting. Knitting, as much as other crafts, has historically represented the way women, through knitting circles, have been able to socialize, exchange ideas and knowledge and gain social confidence. On an individual level, knitting through some easy steps brings to the realization of personal potential, confidence, a sense of self-worth and self-esteem [9]. On a physical level, the activity of knitting has also been demonstrated to help release serotonin, contribute to the decrease of heart rate, and help the management of stress [13]. The article reports the development and results of a practicebased research that consisted in the creation of a circle entirely dedicated to women garment workers which includes knitting training, which provides the materials and tools to do it and that involves women in educational programs including sex education, politics, and law courses, and give a free space for communication. The primary research for a future development of the project has taken place in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where many garment factories are located. Considering the sanitary emergency that occurred, through the help of WISE, a local association working for women empowerment, and Gomitolorosa, an Italian association which donated 200 balls of wool, a video training for ten Ethiopian women has been designed and the actual training took place in November 2020 at WISE headquarter. The workshop was held by eleven women, coming from different villages and different communities, religions, social status. The observed results of this primary research have been supported by qualitative data collected and analysed through structured surveys directed to trainees, trainers, and the director of WISE. Despite the differences of background, and despite not knowing each other before the start of training, the coordinators reported that trainees easily created a fairly united group of people who helped each other and that under normal conditions would not have been able to interact due to social and political restrictions. On the evidence of the reached results the article proposes a possible scenario for further development of the research by illustrating the research design of pilot actions to be held as soon as the sanitary emergency will be over. This second step will help experiment and research for a more structured knitting circle in the future, which will be addressed, in a third phase, to reach a more systemic set of educational actions that could generate a bigger positive impact on women garment workers and on the community around them, being also sustainable in the long-term.
ICERI2021 Proceedings 14th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation November 8th-9th, 2021
978-84-09-34549-6
knitting, garment workers, women empowerment, social innovation, co-design, research project.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1189979
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