British Feminists Whip Up A Tempest In A T-shirt

By Sid Astbury
dpa, Berlin.


Leading British politicians were Sunday snagged in a row over a feminist T-shirt that would cost the women workers who made it in a Mauritius factory more than a week’s wages to buy.

The garment, printed with the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like,” was worn in promotional photos by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and by Labour leader Ed Miliband and his deputy, Harriet Harman.

Prime Minister David Cameron caused controversy by rejecting calls that he also be photographed in it to show his commitment to gender equality.

An investigation by the Mail on Sunday found that women working in the Mauritius factory slept 16 to a room and were paid a quarter of Indian Ocean island nation’s average wage.

The T-shirt was commissioned by feminist lobby group the Fawcett Society and sold for 45 pounds (70 US dollars).

“We have been very disappointed to hear the allegations that conditions in the Mauritius factory may not adhere to the ethical standards that we, as the Fawcett Society, would require of any product that bears our name,” the charity said in a statement.

Clegg was the first of the politicians to respond, saying through a spokesman that he “can only assume that the Fawcett Society were unaware of the (T-shirt’s) origins or they would not have asked him to wear it.”

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