The Pakistani Women Who Work In Awful Conditions To Make The World Cup Soccer Balls
The adrenal rush, national pride and thirst for victory has been a hub of World Cup conversation and will continue to be for the next couple of weeks or so. Every World Cup, several nations come together to give it their all on the field.
Every year, individuals come out to support their team and their nation in hopes that they will win. Every year, individuals come out to see one solitary ball fly through a goal.
After more than a million individuals voted in Brazil over the name, said brightly colored ball became the “Brazuca ball.”
This ball determines the fate of the World Cup Champions and is produced by women 8,500 miles away in Pakistan’s eastern town of Sialkot at the Forward Sports Factory.
The Brazuca ball is formed from six indistinguishable panels that are glued together at a specific level of pressure and heat. To accomplish this, women must be arched over rotating sowing machines all day.
These women are not only subjected to poor working conditions, but must also work while wearing traditional clothing and veils, which only increase their body temperature while working.
Women covered in veils, completely aloof to the imperative nature of this ball, earn only about $100 a month for making the Brazuca ball in the sweltering heat. Given that the ball goes for $160 dollars, it means that these women are getting paid just $3.30 per day to supply the World Cup with one of its most vital tools.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, it's estimated that more than 7,000 children, between 7 and 14 years old, were working full-time, stitching soccer balls. When the media began to show concern, the negative publicity cast a negative light on the 1994 World Cup.
In February 1997, the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, UNICEF, ILO and the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce signed the Atlanta Agreement. The ultimate goal of this agreement was to eradicate child labor in soccer ball production in Sialkot.
Though implementing child labor laws is undoubtedly positive, it is hard to see that women are still subjected to such labor atrocities.
The World Cup is an opportunity for nations to display their true colors and fight for victory, but it should also shed light on the world’s bigger issues.
So, when you watch those orbs get tossed around, don’t forget about the thankless effort that went into their production.
While you watch men kick around this ball in the games and sweat, consider the sweat that the women who produce the balls expend. Consider the lack of praise those women get, compared to the glorified men who play.
Photo Credit: Getty Images