The global apparel industry is facing a crisis of demand and supply in the male-dominated sector, with many men opting to cut back on their work in the garment sector in an effort to earn more money.
A report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) has revealed that the female workforce in the global textile industry is being hit by a massive shortage of garment jobs, with men accounting for around 40 per cent of the workforce.
“The situation in the industry is very serious and not only because of the labour shortage but also because of a lack of recruitment, supply and demand,” ILO spokesperson Anna Cholmets said.
“Many male workers have been leaving the industry for jobs in the private sector and are now forced to work in precarious and dangerous conditions.”
The report also found that the demand for male-made garments was a critical driver for the industry.
“We have to be realistic about what we need and we need to work to create demand for these products,” Ms Cholms said.
Ms Cholmans says there is a shortage of men who can cut their work hours to work on the production lines.
“In terms of the male labour force, the supply is there and there is demand.
We have to find ways of creating demand for our product,” she said.
The industry is experiencing an enormous shortage of the men who are in the workforce to manufacture the goods for the market, and many of them are in their early 20s.
“They need the time to think about the future of the industry, and they need the flexibility to think in a way that will allow them to work around the clock,” Ms Njokot said.
A spokesman for the Australian Industry Group, which represents the industry’s major players, said the industry had a long history of hiring women and girls.
“This has been our long-standing position and we have worked hard to recruit and retain the best female and female-to-male and female to male workforce, and to continue to support our female workforce with flexible hours contracts,” the spokesman said.
Female workers in the clothing industry have been left feeling like second class citizens.
“I just think it’s sad that they’re still not allowed to work at the factories or the mills,” Ms Nyeko said.
She said she was struggling to make ends meet in the textile industry after losing her job as a supervisor and now relying on welfare and social assistance to survive.
“There are no jobs available for women in the field of textiles, they’re all on the backburner,” she added.
“You’re in a really precarious position if you want to stay in the trade, you’re on welfare, you don’t know where you’re going to be when you leave the factory.”
The government has been pushing for more women to join the industry in recent years.