Edited by Rahila Gupta.
ISBN 1842774409 (hardback)
This anthology charts the political coming of age of Southall Black Sisters, an Asian feminist group, now 25 years old and active at community level and nationally and in the English law courts. The timeline that opens the collection lists an impressive string of actions, campaigns and legal challenges mounted from 1979 through to the present day.
The collection documents the members’ experiences and presents forceful arguments on issues including forced marriages, violence against women, fundamentalism, immigration laws, gender persecution of refugee women, and anti-deportation. Examples of cases in which SBS has actively intervened bring the collection to life and remind the reader that here is a group that has hit the headlines not only for the battles it has fought on the national stage but also for making a difference to individual lives.
What are the benefits of forging political alliances? Are religious schools for minority groups a progressive or retrogressive step? Do immigration laws fail women? Should we fight our battles in courts and government committees or out on the streets? Does multiculturalism benefit us? Such questions will provoke debate and challenge conventional wisdom.
Shaila Shah is director of publications, Baaf Adoption and Fostering.