Global Writer & Journalist
Rachel Louise Snyder is a writer and radio commentator. She is also the author of Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade. An excerpt of the book – “Dreams of Distant Factories” – aired on public radio’s This American Life and was awarded the 2006 Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club. Read More >
Author Rachel Louise Snyder published a book that looked at the world’s first sweatshop-free developing country: Cambodia. Could the country survive in the cutthroat world of global trade and bottom dollar profits? By most accounts, the sweatshop-free experiment was a huge success. Read More >
After living in the country for six years, Snyder prepared to leave Cambodia. But in the weeks leading up to her departure, she learned about a very different experiment in the country. The Phnom Penh women’s prison had hired its inmates to begin sewing for one of the largest factories in town for $2.50 a month. The women talked of their exploitation freely, but also begged outsiders not to publicize their plight—because without the work, they were never allowed out of their cells. And, as is the case with many developing country women’s prisons, many had their children in jail with them.
Snyder found herself in a modern-day ethical quandary. As a journalist, she felt she had to tell. As a humanist, however, how could she condemn innocent children to 23 hours a day in prison cells with their mothers? She decided that while she didn’t have the answers, industry experts should. What would a multinational corporation do in such a predicament?
What followed was a fascinating conversation with the vice president of corporate social responsibility at GAP, Inc. about what they—or any multinational brand—could and should do in such a situation. Using clips from her interview with GAP, alongside photos from manufacturing plants around the world, Snyder spells out such ethical and cultural quandaries as the women in the Phnom Penh prison, in what she calls today’s “post-globalization” world. Read Less ^
Rachel Louise Snyder explores the current state of global manufacturing and the use of third-party auditors and monitoring groups overseas; she also discusses the efficacy and pitfalls of multinational manufacturing, and offers a new model for addressing political, cultural, economic, and social issues affecting partnerships across geographical and geopolitical boundaries. Read More >
Her talk addresses such questions as: Do boycotts help or hinder? Do multinational companies wishing to make goods under ethical guidelines overseas do so at the mercy of unscrupulous local actors or governments with little regard for decent working conditions? What is the post-sweatshop world? Read Less ^
Rachel Louise Snyder explores the methodology of using narrative as a means to explore large cultural, political, social, and economic issues. How can stories be told in a way that reaches those who may never pick up a globalization or travel book? How much should a narrator insert herself into a story—if at all? How does journalism approach issues of narrative? Snyder addresses questions like these in a lively, engaging discussion on the state of global exploration, journalism, and storytelling.