South Asian feminisms in Britain: Traversing gender, race, class and religion

This article maps the trajectory of South Asian feminist struggles in Britain and analyses the key issues that have shaped them. We begin by setting the context for the emergence of a distinctive South Asian feminist voice out of existing forms of self-organisation and resistance within minority communities and its location at the intersection of gender, race and class. We then move on to outline the nature and effects of four decades of activism, policy interventions and practice by South Asian feminist groups in Britain. We locate this activism within the context of government policy and statutory practice that has shifted from multiculturalism to multifaithism and highlight the implications for women’s and girls’ rights and the costs to secular feminist provision, particularly in relation to combatting violence against women and girls. Lastly, we also analyse how recent neo-liberal policies of austerity and shrinking welfare provision pose key ideological challenges for South Asian feminist organising.