Kripa Nagarajan (EaRN Equalities Ambassador) speaks with Heather Yang (LOOPs Phoneline Project Development Officer at Volunteer Edinburgh).
Heather: Could you let me know what your name is and how long you’ve lived in Edinburgh?
Kripa: I am Kripa, I’ve lived in Edinburgh since October 2015.
Heather: And is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Kripa: I am an Equality Ambassador with the Equality and Rights Network, and there are reasons as to why I became an Equality ambassador as well.
Heather: So what does equality really mean to you, what were your reasons for becoming an Equalities Ambassador?
Kripa: I have experienced inequality right from my education and in different phases of my life, and I know when I get back to my country and I look for a job I again will face inequality. So with respect to getting a job because of the break and being a female and all that. According to me equality is not judging a person by looking at them and trying to know what their caring responsibilities are, what they age is, and not judging a person just by getting details from a form about them.
Heather: And do you feel you have experiences of being differently to other people?
Kripa: Yeah, I mean during my undergraduate, even when I had scored more marks than other people, there were certain communities that secured a better position or a better college compared to me just because they were a community that had reservations.
Heather: So there was a lot of inequality at that point in time?
Kripa: Yes, I did not fit in any of the designated categories, I was always in the open community and had to fight it out to get to the top positions or top colleges.
Heather: Did you feel that was a form of discrimination?
Kripa: Yes it indeed was, probably because years and years ago people of my kind or my community were treated at a higher level, so I do not know who brought in these rules, but all that has come to taunt me.
Heather: And have you managed to do anything about it, have you managed to change it? You have obviously personally, but anything else in the larger scale, have you tried to do anything about it?
Kripa: I mean there have been a number of people who have fought against the government to take out this reservation system, like education or like the inequality aspect at work. Even at work when people go on maternity leave and get back they are not offered the same position or even if they work for ¾ of the year and then just take 3 months off of work, they are not given the same appraisal equal men when they get back to work because of their caring responsibilities.
Heather: Do you know anything about the Equality Act 2010?
Kripa: Yes I’ve gone through it and I know the protected characteristics.
Heather: And do you think it’s relevant to you?
Kripa: There are many aspects of it that are relevant to me, though not all, but there are many aspects.
Heather: And what do you think of the main equality and rights issues in Edinburgh today?
Kripa: I find that gender inequality is still a problem, though Edinburgh is more developed compared to other places, there is still gender inequality.
Heather: So do you think women are the most affected then?
Kripa: Yeah, I mean they are reasons brought in newly to make women feel affected.
Heather: Do you think things are better or worse than they were say 5 years ago, 10 years ago?
Kripa: I’ve only been in Edinburgh since October 2015 so I don’t think I would the right person to comment on this.
Heather: And in your own country do you think things have changed?
Kripa: Things have changed but not on a larger scale, so there is still a lot more to change.
Heather: And in your time in Edinburgh, have you seen things improve in the space of time you’ve been here. Even though it’s quite a short space of time, do you think it has improved?
Kripa: I’m not able to answer the question.
Heather: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about equality, human rights, or inequality?
Kripa: I feel that when women are considered equal to men, even in general aspects like job applications or being on the counter at the supermarket, only then will we be able to influence the place as such.
Heather: Thank you, I think that’s everything. Thank you very much, very informative.