Research of the ‘Hogeschool van Amsterdam’ (2019) shows that in 2018 the average Dutch consumer had 173 clothing items in his wardrobe, of which 50 items had not been worn in the past year. Annually the Dutch consumer buys 46 items, and disposes 40 items. What about the effect of these growing ‘clothing mountains’ on employees who produce ‘fast fashion’ clothing? The past decade, the Dutch garment and textile industry has paid increasing attention to the effects of the industry on the environment, labour conditions and human rights. This thesis researches the question ‘to what extent and how do Dutch NGOs influence the advancement of women’s rights in CSR processes. This question has been researched via a case study, focusing on NGO influence in advancing women’s rights in the Sustainable Garment and Textile Agreement. This research primarily serves as an investigation of NGO influence and their role as emerging CSR actor in light of the evolving political CSR discourse: a multi-stakeholder process of CSR. Second, it explores how numerous NGOs approach the advancement of women’s rights. To do so, a conceptual model was created based on conditioning factors, NGO strategies and influence factors, deriving from prior research. The overall findings confirm that NGOs are of high influence in the advancement of women’s rights in CSR and assert influence by performing predominantly symbolic strategies. Although several structural power resources constrain NGOs in their efforts, their knowledge of specific issues and access to local networks empowers them to assert influence. This research can add several findings to the existing literature. First, NGOs are effectively adapting to their role as an actor in CSR issues, and have maximum leverage when they make use of strategic collaboration with other NGOs. Secondly, the collaboration between NGOs and private firms to combat CSR issues is intensifying increasingly. Firms and NGOs have become more prone to work close together and assertively contest issues in production- and supply chains. However, this finding should be put in perspective as signatory companies are often small and medium enterprises, and not large multinationals. A last significant finding is that NGOs oftentimes integrate the advancement of women’s rights with other CSR priorities like earning a living wage, creating freedom of association and actions against child labour. These are more inclusive priorities and improvement on these issues also leads to better women’s rights. These findings can be used to further explore political CSR and the importance of NGOs as CSR actors. The findings on the added value of NGO involvement and how they frame women’s rights can also be taken into account while developing future IRBC Agreements.

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Thesis Advisor Prof.dr. A.G. Dijkstra, Dr. K. Stapelbroek
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Series Public Administration
Strolenberg, Anna. (2020, February 18). NGO influence on womens's rights. Public Administration. Retrieved from