One in six people in the world – 1.3 billion people in total – live in India. 926 women are reported raped, burnt, beaten, kidnapped in India every day. Sisters For Change works with the most marginalised women in India: Dalit women and low-paid garment workers.
For garment workers in India, verbal abuse, humiliation and sexual harassment are part of daily life. The working conditions and treatment of women garment workers in India range from difficult to appalling. Wages for low-skilled work are beneath the minimum wage, and recruitment involves young women moving hundreds of kilometres away from their rural homes to live in hostels that deprive them of their rights to privacy and liberty, creating an enabling environment for exploitation.
Scheduled Castes, or Dalits, comprise 16.6% of the overall population of India – roughly 201 million people. Violence against Dalit women is borne from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination – in terms of gender, caste, and poverty. Widespread and systemic violence against Dalit women and girls is both a social mechanism intended to maintain Dalit women’s subordination and reduce their agency and capacity to participate in society, and an act of political violence with the objective of subjugating Dalit communities and asserting power over a minority group.
Sisters For Change has been conducting programmes in India since 2015.