Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute held a panel discussion of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire and its effect on labor laws and workplace safety in the US, and of the recent factory fire in Bangladesh and the effect it might have there and elsewhere in the developing world for similar reforms. Organized by Professors Donna Haverty-Stacke and Eduardo Contreras and Human Rights Program Director Lawrence Moss.

The panel was moderated by Donna Haverty-Stacke, Associate Professor of History, Hunter College

This event was sponsored by the Hunter College Human Rights Program.



Alice Kessler-Harris is R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History at Columbia University. Dr. Kessler-Harris specializes in the history of American labor and the comparative and interdisciplinary exploration of women and gender. She received her B. A. from Goucher College (1961) and her Ph.D. from Rutgers (1968). Her published works include: In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (2001); Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States (1982); A Woman’s Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (1990); and Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview (1981).


Dan Katz is Provost of the National Labor College, Washington D.C., and formerly Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York, Empire State College.  He earned his PhD in history at Rutgers University.  He is the author of All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism, co-editor of the anthology Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America, and a contributing editor of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, the official journal of the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA). Provost Katz has been an organizer and union representative with the Service Employees International Union, the United Auto Workers, the American Federation of Teachers, and Doctors Council of New York City.


Judy Gearhart has been the Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum since March 2011.  She is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, teaching the course Human Rights and Development Policy since 2002.  Previously, Ms. Gearhart served as the Program Director at Social Accountability International (SAI) where she led research on voluntary labor standards and coordinated training programs for workers and trade unions on how to use codes conduct to claim their rights at work.   Prior to SAI, Judy worked on democratization, women’s rights and labor rights programs for Mexican NGOs, UNICEF-Honduras and the ILO’s International Program to Eradicate Child Labor (IPEC).  Judy holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.


Dina Siddiqi is Professor of Anthropology at BRAC University in Dhaka, and was Visiting Associate Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Program at Hunter College in 2011-2012.  She is a cultural anthropologist with a strong interest in gender, human rights and transnational feminist politics, and a South Asia specialist, with particular expertise on gender and Islam in Bangladesh.  Dr. Siddiqi has worked for leading human rights organizations in Bangladesh including Ain o Salish Kendra, and has been a consultant for UNDP, UNICEF and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka. Dr. Siddiqi was Senior Research Associate at the Alice Paul Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at the University of Pennsylvania from 2004-2007 and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Dhaka in 2002.


From Triangle Shirtwaist to Bangladesh: The Garment Industry, Tragedy, and Workplace Safety Reform | Posted on February 28th, 2014 | Human Rights Program Events, Human Rights Program News, Public Programs