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She told them about the decades she had spent hunched up in her home, repeatedly pulling a needle through tough leather as she sewed shoe uppers, the meager income she earned, her failing eyesight and the wounds on her hands.
For manufacturers and brands, her story was a revelation.
The meeting brought women workers, manufacturers, charities and brands face-to-face for the first time in a bid to map the role of homeworkers — an “invisible workforce” in a global supply chain making high-end shoes — and improve conditions.
“It was a historical meeting in that sense,” said Annie Delaney of the Australian RMIT School of Management, who has documented the condition of homeworkers and attended the meeting a fortnight ago in Vellore in Tamil Nadu. “Homeworkers described their reality. It was a powerful experience for not just the women but also for the manufacturers and brands who were meeting them for the first time.”
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