My Summer 2022 Research: U.S. Trade and Swazi Women Workers in the Garment Industry


In collaboration with Professor Desirée LeClercq's research team, my study focuses on the United States’ withdrawal of trade benefits to Eswatini, Africa, in 2015 and its impact on the working conditions of women in the garment industry. This investigation will explore the experiences of women workers in the Eswatini garment industry by examining wages, collective bargaining agreements, trade union participation, and gender equality. By understanding the conditions of women workers in the garment industry, we will recognize the material effects of changes in trade patterns on workers' lives and, thus, potential consequences of future trade fluctuations. In addition, such exploration will provide necessary data and knowledge for policy initiatives regarding trade and labor issues.

This exploration of the working conditions in the Eswatini garment sector will require me, as the Laidlaw Scholar, to conduct clear and thorough communication with the International Labor Organization (ILO). Additionally, in the exploration, I will engage in primary and qualitative research, intending to emphasize the genuine experiences of women workers from their distinct points of view. Such forms of research will require that I work in collaboration with Professor LeClercq’s team to observe the experiences of African garment workers. Further, qualitative research through informative interviews aims to collect data about laborers' experiences and is particularly relevant in exploring Swazi labor practices. Lastly, I will learn from Professor LeClercq in understanding how to communicate with the ILO and other involved labor organizations to fully understand the broader picture of the female worker experience in Africa.

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