Women in apparel and footwear manufacturing: how does tech upgrading and automation affect them?


The clothing and footwear manufacturing sector primarily employs female workers, often in underpaid, insecure jobs with uncertain futures due to automation. New research explores the challenges women encounter and the impact of technology on their work.

The workforce in the clothing and footwear manufacturing sector is often predominantly made up of female workers. Though these jobs require a high degree of skills, they are often underpaid, insecure and characterized by an uncertain future, in particular because of the risk of being replaced by automated equipment. So, how are women in the apparel and footwear manufacturing sectors affected by automation and technological upgrading? And do these factors favour men over women? In this podcast we’ll examine these issues with the ILO’s Valeria Esquivel, Employment Policies and Gender Specialist, and Senior economist David Kucera.


Valeria Esquivel
Employment Policies and Gender Specialist
Employment, Labour Markets and Youth Branch
ILO Employment Policy Department

David Kucera
Co-editor, Global Employment Policy Review
Senior Economist, Development and Investment Branch
ILO Employment Policy Department