By Prarthana Mitra
On September 4, a day before farmers marched for their rights from the Ramlila Maidan, thousands of women ascended on Parliament Street in Delhi under the banner of All India Democratic Women’s Association.
All India Democratic Women’s Association protesting against unemployment of women, violence against women. Deepika Singh Rajawat addressing the crowd. pic.twitter.com/yzCR0ifdiy
— Cherry Agarwal (@QuilledWords) September 4, 2018
Another grassroots movement without takers in media
Braving the heavy rain, women from 23 states put forward their demands and grievances, agitating for financial, social and food security. A mass protest of this sort ought to have attracted media attention, with a couple of exceptions, prime time wasn’t reserved for the working-class women protesting against the increasing violence against women and the government’s failure to provide them with employment.
Notably, the farmers’ protest on Wednesday too was heavily under-reported, especially on television news channels.
All India Democratic Women’s Association President Malini Bhattacharya conveyed their three major demands to an independent media outlet, namely speedy justice for victims and perpetrators of gender crimes, immediate delinking of Aadhaar cards from ration cards, and access to dignified labour with equal pay. The protestors also called for a protection of working women’s rights against discrimination at the workplace.
Rations must be universalised, Bhattacharya said, to prevent impoverished families from dying of malnutrition and starvation. Inflation and mandatory linking of Aadhaar to ration cards have taken a severe toll on the country’s economically disenfranchised population, especially its women.
Speaking out about land acquisition and the farmers’ plight in the country, the protestors also agreed that that justice must be served to recent victims of cow vigilantism and lynching in various parts of the country.
An exemplary display of intersectionality
The women marching on Tuesday for their rights were affiliated to various labour rights organisations like the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India Kisan Sabha, and All India Agriculture Workers’ Union.
Making their way from a muddy Ramlila Maidan, after having travelled long distances by buses, trains, and on foot, the women marched in torrential rain, with cries for demanding more jobs and equal pay. Shouting slogans demanding more jobs for women with equal pay, the women displayed remarkable grit and resilience walking in orderly lines, with infants on their laps and bags carrying supplies, proving once again that the future of resistance is intersectional.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.