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Women Making Ivanka Trump Clothing Earn Asia’s Lowest Wages

A far cry from the 'Women Who Work' narrative.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

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The stories plaguing Ivanka Trump’s fashion label aren’t going anywhere.

Today, The Guardian published a detailed report about a factory in Subang, Indonesia, where some of the brand’s clothing is manufactured. Three-quarters of the workers at the PT Buma Apparel Industry factory are women, and more than a dozen spoke up about the conditions and expectations. The report comes just two weeks after activists who were investigating a Chinese factory that makes shoes for the brand were detained by the Chinese government (Trump’s label has since distanced itself from said factory).

At the Indonesian factory, permanent employees receive paid maternity leave of three months and federal health insurance, but they also receive one of the lowest wages in Asia. One worker revealed she earns $173 a month — what one labor rights activist called “poverty wages” — and The Guardian notes that the salaries are 40 percent lower than what employees earn in the Chinese factories. Women revealed that the wages were so low they couldn’t afford to live with their children, let alone buy necessities like formula and school books.

Workers also said they are verbally abused, and that the factory employs disturbing tactics like firing workers before Ramadan and rehiring them right after in order to avoid paying Indonesia’s mandatory “religious holiday bonus.” Women are also incentivized with a monthly bonus of $10.50 to not take off of work when they have their periods. Factory workers are expected to meet unrealistic production targets, and frequently work overtime because of them; they told The Guardian they are rarely compensated for overtime.

As if it wasn’t already completely obvious, workers found the picture Ivanka paints in her book, Women Who Work, egregious. When told about the book’s narrative, one worker reportedly “burst out laughing. Her idea of work-life balance,” the article says, “would be if she could see her children more than once a month.”

While Ivanka Trump isn’t imposing these factory conditions herself, an increasing number of conscious consumers are concerned about the supply chain of the goods they purchase. Last month, company president Abigail Klem told Bloomberg that Trump’s brand is committed to working with those who “maintain internationally recognized labor standards across their supply chains.”

The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment on The Guardian report to Racked, and has thus far avoided directly addressing the now multiple distressing reports coming out of its factories. It’s safe to say the investigations have just begun, and their silence is likely unsustainable.