(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) led a group of Democratic lawmakers to introduce a bicameral resolution to support the rights of working women in developing countries. The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate and House that the United States should support and protect, “the right of women working in developing countries to safe workplaces, free from gender-based violence, reprisals, and intimidation.” The resolution also commemorates the third anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, in which 1,134 Bangladeshi workers lost their lives and 2,500 more workers were injured, the majority of whom were women. Among the groups that are strongly supporting this resolution are the AFL-CIO, International Labor Rights Forum, One Billion Rising, National Organization for Women (NOW), Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Feminist Majority Foundation.
“All women should have the right to work in a safe environment, without the threat of violence, discrimination, or other abuses,”said Senator Patty Murray. “This is particularly urgent for women in developing countries who too often face sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions while trying to earn a living for themselves and their families. I’m proud to support this resolution that would make clear that we stand with working women everywhere and support their rights.”
“The women working in these factories abroad sew the clothes we wear, cut the flowers we buy, and assemble the electronics we use. The least we can do is support these women when they speak out against violence and dire workplace conditions,”said Representative Jackie Speier. “The Rana Plaza tragedy awoke us all to the horrible conditions that workers – who are predominantly female – experience in export industries. Almost three years later, however, many of the factories that produce clothing for Western retailers remain hostile workplaces, and in many cases, deathtraps and tragedies waiting to happen. As a nation, we must stand with women who are fighting for their rights to a safe workplace, free from sexual harassment and violence.”