German town honored for Bengaluru women’s rights activist

The senate of Bremen, a city in Germany, presented the 17th Bremen Solidarity Award to Garment Laborer Union President Rukmini VP in recognition of her activism and contribution to the women’s rights movement.

The prize, which includes a grant of 10,000 euros and a sculpture by Bremen artist Bernd Altenstein, was presented by Andreas Bovenschulte, mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

The 17th award winner was chosen for her “commitment to combating violence against women and girls” and Rukmini Vaderapura Puttaswamy, co-founder of Munnade and GLU was chosen for her work in the sector.

“Women have been working in garment factories for many years, but we see no improvement in their working and living conditions. Governments of developed countries in the Western world must be aware of the labor rights violations suffered by workers in producer countries of the Global South. They (workers) need to take responsibility for it and take appropriate action to address it…” Rukmini Vaderapura Puttaswamy said at the event held at Bremen’s Upper Town Hall.

“Multinational fashion groups that fail to meet social and environmental standards in the supply chain contribute to the exploitation of women just as much as consumers with their buying behavior and policy, which have so far limited their legal options,” Bovenschulte said.

Previous recipients of the award are Nelson and Winnie Mandela (1988), Aung San Suu Kyi (1994), Sumaya Farhat-Naser (Palestine) and Gila Svirsky (Israel) in 2003.