Women workers in the apparel sector: a three decade (r)-evolution of feminist contributions?

Kanchana N. Ruwanpura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The early 1980s lead to a flurry of analysis regarding the role of women workers in the apparel sector. These incipient feminist interventions tended to hone in on the economic status of women workers to the exclusion of understanding the multiple ways in which their social and cultural lives was also transformed through this process. This research lacuna was primarily filled through the works of cultural and social anthropologists. The past three decades’ academic debates then have witnessed an intellectual and scholarly transition from the economic to the cultural, alongside strident calls for ethical corporate codes in the apparel sector. This journey, however, has not necessarily had an abiding focus on feminist concerns to do with the gendered nature of work itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • women workers
  • garments
  • ethical codes
  • feminism


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