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Majority Of Women Fruit, Veggie Vendors In Ranchi Face Harassment | – Times of India

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Ranchi: Anita Devi, a 31-year-old vegetable vendor, is a victim of harassment. The harassment starts right from coming out of her home in Namkum to the bustling Lowadih Chowk Vegetable Market, where she sells her produces. Anita is not alone in her suffering as a significant majority of women engaged in the fruit and vegetable vending trade shared her harrowing experience and reported various forms of harassment both within marketplaces and during their travels.
The harassment includes lack of night-time transport, lack of transport connectivity from the train station, harassment by ticket collectors for money and sexual harassment by male passengers. Mobile vendors confronted additional challenges while walking around the city hawking their produces. They reported being followed and verbally abused by male motorists and consumers. Even at their place of work, 42% of the female vegetable vendors reported harassment with more than half of them reporting sexual harassment.
Anita said, “Every day as I set out on my journey to the market with the hope of earning an honest living for my family, I faced harassment. This harsh reality is also faced by many other women in my trade. It not only disrupts our work but also deeply affects us emotionally.”
A recent survey conducted from June to August, focusing on around 200 women, who work as fruit and vegetable vendors, uncovered a distressing pattern of harassment. The study, conducted by Jagori, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advocating women’s rights and gender equality, revealed that a concerning 42% of women in the vegetable and fruit trade face harassment.
Sarita Kumari, another 36-year-old vegetable vendor who travels from Namkum to Daily Market said, “What’s particularly concerning is that these incidents occur both within the crowded marketplaces, where we are trying to earn an honest living, and during our travel to and from these vending locations.”
Amrita Thakur, the project officer at Jagori, said, “The recent survey among these women highlights the urgent need for measures to protect their rights. We call on the local authorities and the citizens to take immediate action through the report.”
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