Jade Kosché

jade edited 6

Socio-Legal Studies (2022 cohort)

My DPhil research joins two of my long-held interests—workers' rights and women’s rights. My project aims to explore how a private labour governance programme addressing gender-based violence in Lesotho's garment factories interacts with local understandings of gender-based violence. The 'private' regulatory method, called Worker-Driven Social Responsibility, has been used previously to essentially eliminate slave-like conditions of migrant agricultural workers in Florida's tomato farms (the Fair Food Program) and significantly reduce fatally unsafe building conditions in Bangladesh's garment factories (the Bangladesh Accord).

In 2019, the Fair Food Program and Bangladesh Accord's campaigners coordinated with unions and women's rights groups in Lesotho to implement the Gender Justice Program (GJP). In 2021, the GJP began its monitoring and enforcement methods, including a training workshop for workers' rights and a complaint hotline staffed by counsellors and lawyers. Lesotho has notably high rates of reported gender-based violence, present in all spheres of women's lives. The GJP aims to eliminate gender-based violence in garment factories where approximately 90% of workers are women and two-thirds have experienced gender-based violence by superiors and male co-workers.

While the GJP is a unique opportunity to examine the effects of a non-legal governance regime in reducing gender-based violence in workplaces, it is especially interesting because of its potential to affect people's perceptions of gender-based violence in their lives more generally. Since gender-based violence is often intertwined with culturally informed gender roles, this is an intriguing possibility that could lead to the use of private labour governance for broader social change.

Central to my investigation is the nuanced interplay between the GJP and the local community. Unlike conventional models that perceive private labour governance as a one-way influence, my research examines this relationship as a dynamic, reciprocal process. By unravelling the interactions between the GJP, workers, and the community, my study contextualises the programme’s effectiveness within the sociocultural fabric of and the gender norms within Lesotho. Employing a multifaceted research approach, I utilise qualitative methods, emphasising ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews, complemented by quantitative and qualitative archival research of gender-based violence reports. This methodological mix provides a detailed understanding of the GJP’s impact, shedding light on the intricacies of workers' experiences and perceptions within the programme.

Before joining Oxford's Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, I worked as a Californian employment law attorney and labour rights advocate. I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue my LL.M in international business law from Tel Aviv University in 2020. I subsequently wrote my LL.M thesis in international labour law with Tel Aviv University’s Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies. I have served as Senior Editor of Theoretical Inquiries in Law Journal, Executive Editor of Trinity Law Review, research assistant for Dean Yofi Tirosh, and research fellow for the TraffLab Research Project.