Anuradha Kapoor is an Indian social activist and director and founder of Swayam, a nonprofit organization established to empower women and end the violence against women in India.
Anuradha Kapoor was born in 1963 (age 57 years; as of 2020) in Kolkata, West Bengal. She did her schooling from La Martiniere for Girls School, Kolkata. She did Bachelor of Commerce from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. LinkedIn Profile – Anuradha Kapoor
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Salt & Pepper
Family & Caste
Not much is known about her family. She is married, and she met her husband when she was working in a publishing house.
Before becoming a social activist, she was a part of Seagull Books (as a manager), a publishing house in Kolkata. While working at Seagull Books, she met a lot of creative people and started attending discourses on gender issues, which shaped her sensibilities. Alongside her job, she indulged herself in a lot of voluntary work. She said,
I started working with CINI (Child In Need Institute). I wanted to work for women’s issues. I did stints with Jeebika, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Mancha and other NGOs in the city. “
It was during her volunteering days that she came to the realisation of the issue of violence against women in India that was barely talked in media and society. There were organizations that helped women with counselling, legal or other services, but were essentially piecemeal efforts. According to her,
I felt that there should be organisations that would offer all these services under one roof.”
With an aim to bring a change, she established Swayam, a nonprofit organization working for women rights and end of violence against women in India, in 1995. She is the director and committee member of Swayam. An organization that started as a women shelter, became a provider of direct support services to survivors of violence, working with community groups to create violence-free communities, and conducted public education programmes.
The organization is involved in advocacy, research, publication, and documentation work on violence against women and other related issues. Together with Swayam, she played a key role in the passing of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and has since been working to ensure that it is implemented effectively at the state and national levels. Apart from that, she has conducted judicial training as a part of Asian Pacific Advisory Forum on Judicial Education on Equality Issues and has trained with the police, corporate houses, educational institutions, NGO’s and CBO’s, across India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Apart from handling domestic violence cases, Swayam has dealt with several high profile rape cases including Phoolbagan rape case in 2000 (a disabled teen girl was raped by a couple of constables) and gangrape of a Bangladeshi woman in Howrah Station in the late 90s. Swayam is also associated with Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising programme and has long been fighting for in-camera proceedings for rape victims.
Awards & Achievements
- Felicitated at Tata Steel Kolkata for Highest Fundraiser in Kolkata in 2019
- Most Powerful Women Impact Award by Business Today in 2018
- Member of Civil Society Advisory Groups for UN Women’s Multi-Country Office for India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives
- She is known as ‘Anu Di’ by her co-workers and people in Swayam. Femina
- Anuradha Kapoor is an Ashoka Fellow (since 1996) and Eisenhower Fellow.
- In May 2016, Swayam won the Canadian Council for International Co-operation Award in the Women’s Rights Projects category.
- In 2014, she contributed to a chapter on Violence against Women in the Civil Society Alternative report to the CEDAW Committee.
- She has also been a guest speaker on women’s rights courses conducted by Women’s Studies Departments in Calcutta University and Jadavpur University.
- She has also been invited to speak at several international forums by UN agencies and civil society organisations and addressed the international conference on Human Rights, Equality and Gender at University of Connecticut, USA, organized by the UNESCO Chair in 2006, 2008, and 2013.
- She has also collaborated on research and manuals on violence against women.
- In 2020, she appeared in the Karamveer Special of the reality game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. She was accompanied by the Indian actor and director Ratna Pathak Shah.
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