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How changing your style could change the world

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 15:33

In central Myanmar, Maw Maw Lwin sits over her new Flying Man sewing machine in a small, but homely production house. President of her women’s craft group, she smiles and chats with the other women surrounding her.

She is carefully tailoring a top, cut from cloth woven by other artisans living in Myanmar’s DryZone, where the impacts of a damaged climate are hitting women and their communities hard, creating severe food and economic insecurity.

Maw Maw and the women of MBoutik, a Myanmar women’s social enterprise, have come together to craft beautiful clothing, and in doing so, they are crafting new paths to a better future – for themselves and for their communities. The Fabric Social, an Australian ethical fashion business, has partnered with them to distribute these clothes to other women around the world.

It’s a partnership that cuts out the greedy corporations and exploitative industries.

It’s about women working together, across borders, to take control.

The women’s rights movement is resurging. The Women’s March on Washington echoed around the world, but resistance is happening everywhere, every day. All around the world, women are rising together, taking to the street and speaking out – determined to create a new world that works for women.

Around the world, an estimated 60-75 million people work in textile, clothing and footwear and three quarters of those are women and girls. Most of these women and girls are working in factories in low-income communities for corporations that deny them a voice and basic workers’ rights. They earn as little as a few cents per hour in dreadfully unsafe working conditions that see thousands die around the world every year.

Yet this is a lifestyle so difficult to escape. For a woman struggling to support her family in Myanmar, it often seems that there is no other option than to move to Yangon and work in one of the city’s many garment factories.

All around the world, women are systematically excluded from economies. Women are denied opportunities. Women are exploited.

Unfortunately this is a system that we all participate in almost every day and almost every time we buy something.

It is also a system that, together, we can resist.

In Myanmar, and in other communities around the world, women are banding together, and pioneering alternatives – rebelling against the unjust system that exists and creating a new one – designed for women, by women.

And we can support them.

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MBoutik and The Fabric Social have just launched their new RISE collection. Their beautiful clothes have created a choice for women around the world. Support a system that represses women and their rights, or support alternatives that drive us forward towards a world defined by equality and justice. It’s over to you.

When you wear clothes, you not only make a fashion statement, but also a political statement.

Get yourself something from the RISE collection today.

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This innovative business partnership, coordinated by ActionAid Australia through funding from DFAT’s new Business Partnerships Platform, is supporting women in Myanmar to realise their economic independence and full human rights.