Penkoottu, the collective of women employees on S.M. Street, Kozhikode, in association with the Asanghaditha Mekhala Thozhilali Union (AMTU), is planning to honour elderly women labourers in the city on International Women’s Day in recognition of their fight for survival despite odds.
“We have won so many battles, including the one for toilets and the right to sit. Yet, so many women are still facing various types of exploitation. There are any number of women working on S.M. Street beyond 60 years of age who fought through several adversities to make ends meet”, said P. Viji, the founder of Penkoottu and State secretary of AMTU.
She said many women were forced to work during their old age due to desperation. Many lost their jobs or succumbed to several occupational hazards, while others were still ailing. However, the establishments where they worked had neglected to pay their rightful benefits to the employees, she said.
“These women faced gross neglect as women were not considered authorised workforce until recently. Yet they continue to work, battling these adversities on a day-to-day basis. They have neither been recognised as workers nor been registered,” said Ms. Viji.
The labourers will be honoured as part of Women’s Day celebrations being organised by Penkoottu and AMTU on March 8 at Chavara Cultural Centre at 10 a.m. The labourers of S.M. Street will stage a street play at Kidson Corner at 5 p.m. on the day.