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.