Fair Labor Association Midpoint Update

My learning goals for this internship are:

  1. I am interested in knowing more about international labor laws.
  2. I want to improve my writing skills.
  3. I hope to grow my professional network.
  4. I want to learn more about forced labor, child labor and sexual harassment in the workplace.
  5. I am interested in further understanding the intersection of business and human rights.

So far I have taken large strides in achieving multiple of these goals. I assisted in the planning and execution of the FLA’s event, Addressing Forced and Child Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains. There I learned about a three-year grant the FLA worked on with a wide array of government organizations, civil society organizations, and large businesses to assist workers in the hazelnut industry in Turkey. This event gave me a greater understanding of the complexities of supply chains and how systemic issues, such as poverty, must be addressed to put an end to child and forced labor.

Last week I sat in on a discussion group regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. There, we discussed how the history of patriarchy and the hierarchical nature of the workplace makes it difficult to prevent and punish harassment. From that meeting, I gained a better understanding of restorative justice, which takes a victim-center approach and works to prevent repeat offenses. After I attend a meeting or event I do a write up on it. Doing this allows me to summarize my takeaways from events and helps me improve my writing skills. Additionally, these meetings and events provide great networking opportunities.

This past week I completed my assignment for the Training and Capacity Building team. I organized all of the training materials and other files on SharePoint so they are easily accessible. I am now working with the Accountability team on a new project related tothe FLA’s principle benchmarks.

I am the youngest person in the office and the only intern so there are few leadership roles available to me; but I have been learning about what it means to be a good leader from the FLA’s CEO, Sharon Waxman. Sharon’s strong leadership is evident in the office every day and at the board meeting. I feel honored to work for the FLA because it is a prominent leader in the field of business and human rights. Before this internship, I knew little about business, a predominantly male field. Since working here, I have become more interested in the inter-workings of corporations and their efforts to become more socially responsible.

The skills and knowledge I have gained from this internship have helped me understand the importance of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Prior to my time at FLA, I thought that my experience this summer would help me decide if I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector or within the government. I have now come to realize that it is valuable to have experience in both and both must work together to effectively create change in the world. This shift in perspective has expanded my future career options, rather than narrowing them down.IMG_5623.jpg

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