In India, especially small towns like Manipuri, women face extreme discrimination inside, and outside, of the workplace. For centuries women have been the base in which stabilizes this small community, but they are still offered less than equal, or fair, wages, and must operate with the constant fear of sexual harassment.
In the 16th century, when the Manipuri men went to war, the women ran the local market making sure crops still grew and fish were still caught. Ultimately, they controlled production and trade of goods, and when they aren’t treated fairly, the Manipuri women stand up to their government.
In 1904 these women stood up to the British for their imposition of labor laws on their country.
In 1939 woman approached the government due to their agitation over famon and disease that was being left untreated and was sweeping the country due to the British exportation of their crops. These unarmed women were met by armed forces and the battle became known as Nupi Lan, or the “Women’s War.”
So, until these women feel that they are being offered equal pay and protection from sexual harassment they will continue working in their women only market, creating a powerful symbol of women’s rights and freedoms.
Featured image via DNA.