Anjali, a 35-year-old widow working in the construction sector from a young age is based in Tamil Nadu, the Southern State of India. She has been an active member of the union Akila India Kattida Thozhilalargal Mathiya Sangam. She moved to the State Capital, Chennai for better income and livelihood opportunities after her father passed away back in her native village.
When she started living at the construction site, she faced a number of problems: poor living conditions, lack of health and safety and harassment by male construction workers. She faced sexual harassment and also abusive language. However, devoid of any family support and in her struggle to economically provide for the family back home, she could not raise her voice against gender-based violence at the worksite. It was only when she joined the union and took part in gender-awareness meetings, workshops and programmes that she felt empowered and started to raise her voice on discrimination at the worksite and community level. She has also been instrumental in spreading awareness among other women workers.
Today, Anjali after the demise of her husband four years ago lives in the State Capital with her 10-year old daughter. She is determined to provide a better life for her daughter and ensure regular education for her so she can understand and withstand challenges of being a woman and can fight for her rightful place.
On International Women’s Day, Anjali reminds us “Violence at workplace is an extension of gender discrimination that is widely prevalent in the society. For gender-based violence to end, it is important to provide equal opportunities for women in every sphere of life and to develop gender sensitivity at a young age among both boys and girls.”