The Cam­paign­ing Cru­sader


Growing up in Glas­gow in a tra­di­tional Asian fam­ily, youth worker Suki Sangha re­jected an ar­ranged mar­riage and in­stead cam­paigned for gen­der equal­ity and for the rights of young work­ers. I come from a very tra­di­tional Asian fam­ily and I had ex­pec­ta­tions put on me when I was growing up. I was aware of gen­der stereo­types and girls be­ing treated dif­fer­ently from boys. An ar­ranged mar­riage was where I was head­ing, in fact my two sis­ters were mar­ried through it, but I al­ways chal­lenged that. Pol­i­tics has al­lowed me to see things dif­fer­ently, opened up doors and al­lowed me to do dif­fer­ent things that my sis­ters might not have ex­pe­ri­enced. You’ve got to have per­se­ver­ance and be stub­born to get where you want to be. My first mem­o­ries of be­ing on po­lit­i­cal marches were dur­ing my teenage years. My un­cle was mur­dered and my fam­ily were sup­ported by the Scot­tish Trade Union move­ment in cam­paign­ing against in­sti­tu­tional racism. So it was that, the anti-war move­ment and the sub­se­quent back­lash and racist scape­goat­ing of black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties, which made me po­lit­i­cally ac­tive. To­day I am Vice Chair of Unite the Union’s Black, Asian and Mi­nor­ity Eth­nic Com­mit­tee in Scot­land. His­tor­i­cally, the Trade Union Move­ment is quite male-dom­i­nated. I’m aware of that when I go into meet­ings with a lot of men around the ta­ble. It’s very ma­cho and it’s some­times dif­fi­cult to get your voice heard. I’m aware of it, but it doesn’t faze me. Women in­volved in pol­i­tics are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing tar­gets for on­line sex­ism and more needs to be done to high­light this. I stood as a can­di­date in the Scot­tish Par­lia­men­tary Elec­tion this year and dur­ing the elec­tions and cam­paign­ing, you are very aware that women are still hugely un­der-rep­re­sented when it comes to our po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. In the work­place, I feel things are get­ting worse, not bet­ter for young women in par­tic­u­lar. Our hard-fought Women’s Rights are be­ing eroded by the in­crease in pre­car­i­ous work and zero hours con­tracts, which need to be scrapped. There are still huge bat­tles to be won around chal­leng­ing ev­ery day sex­ism in work, in pol­i­tics and across wider so­ci­ety.

‘An ar­ranged mar­riage was where I was head­ing but I al­ways chal­lenged that.’

Leather jacket, Sa­van­nah Miller, £70, neck­lace, Prin­ci­ples by Ben de Lisi, £12, polo neck, Red Her­ring, £12, all at Deben­hams. Hair and make-up: Stephanie Mcknight.

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