Sherry Rehman is the Founding Chair and serving President of the Jinnah Institute and the Vice-President of Pakistan People’s Party. She is a fourth-term parliamentarian, diplomat, journalist and civil society activist who has received Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-lmtiaz. Rehman has served as the Leader of Opposition in Senate, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. She has received several awards including the title of Democracy’s Hero; The Freedom Award for her work for media independence; the International Peace Award for Democrats; and the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Award for Women. Identified as one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine, she was cover-titled by Newsweek Pakistan as “Pakistan’s Most Important Woman”.
Navigating activism, politics and modernity in Pakistan
Edited by Sherry Rehman
Rs. 995 | $ 25.00
As we enter a new century, with its promise of change, women in Pakistan often emerge as its best face forward. At the same time, a persistent and growing trendline of disadvantage and discrimination throws up a harsh counterfactual to the motivating success stories. Knitting these skeins together is the complex, long, often untold tale of women who think, speak, act and give up a part of their comfort zone to push the rights agenda, to take on the architecture of patriarchy and extremism or to call out resurgent misogynies. This is a book about these women, by these women, for the women who struggle to find a voice.
This anthology of essays attempts to do two things. It seeks first to provide testament and context to women’s activism through the lived experience and voices of pioneers who not just headlined the rights struggle in Pakistan, but also gave it intellectual meaning and moral quest. In this endeavour, this book looks to capture a repository of important voices in order to create a slice of memory. The second idea motivating this collection is to probe the connection between the fairly coherent movement of the 1980s to the post-millennial activism that is challenging norms and pushing the boundaries of patriarchy today. Without forcing a grand narrative on the essays, a selection of younger writers uses this space to grapple with persistent barriers reified by the state, while speaking to new problems that tag on to new opportunities. These young women seek to add their voices to the changing face of women’s activism in contemporary Pakistan, while building a new vocabulary to address emerging challenges.
“Poignant, profound and powerful.”
-Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former United States Secretary of State and Senator
“This book is a must-read. It shines a light on the potential of Pakistani women. I am awed and inspired by the sheer range of innovative thought and by the commitment to activism demonstrated by this anthology.”
-Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize Laureate
“Combining powerful voices from the multiple arenas, histories and strategies of the women’s struggle in Pakistan, Sherry Rehman has curated an original and enabling resource for everyone working for women’s rights and dignity across the Global South.”
-Ahdaf Soueif, Author, Cairo: My City, Our Revolution
“Like a loudspeaker, this book has amplified the voices of all kinds of women, involved in all kinds of struggles. This book is saying loudly and clearly that Pakistani women, be they rural or urban, economically poor or rich, will not stop thinking, speaking and challenging injustice.”
-Kamla Bhasin, Feminist, Poet and Author, Exploring Masculinity
“Wide-ranging and illuminating, this collection is a necessary read for anyone who wants to understand Pakistan and/or the tug of war between patriarchal oppression and feminist resistance.”
-Kamila Shamsie, Author, Home Fire
“This book does the important work of bringing together the discourse on Pakistani women’s experiences, struggles and activism, presented in bits and pieces in the past, documenting and describing the depth and breadth of the journey of Pakistani women towards recognition of gender identity, collective rights and access.”
-Justice Majida Razvi, First Female High Court Judge in Pakistan
“In the 30 years I have known Sherry Rehman, she has always been a pioneer and a true sister in a land which has not always appreciated it—and one of my personal heroes. Here she brings together an astonishing collection of voices, both young and old, to tell the untold history of how Pakistan’s women’s movement has evolved—and the battles it still faces.”
-Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent, Sunday Times
“A timely and important book that unites intergenerational feminists in a call to action.”
-Tina Brown, Editor, The Daily Beast
Publisher: Folio Books
Weight in kg: 0.5
Publishing date: July 21, 2021
Sahar Shafqat is Professor in the Department of Political Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she focuses on political parties, social and political movements, democratization, ethnic conflict and nationalism, and gender and sexuality studies. Sahar received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Economics and International Relations, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. Sahar has previously taught at Southwestern University in Texas, and at Habib University in Karachi. Sahar has published articles in academic journals like Law and Social Inquiry and Asian Survey, and in publications like Express Tribune and Baltimore Sun, and has done media appearances on outlets such as Al Jazeera and Democracy Now.
Romila Thappar is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has been General President of the Indian History Congress. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and holds honorary doctorates from Universities of Calcutta, Oxford and Chicago, among others. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and SOAS, London. In 2008 she was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the Library of Congress, USA.
Raza Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and an author. He is Director, Department of Journalism at Ithaca College, New York. Rumi is also visiting faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is the editor of Naya Daur and frequently writes for leading English dailies of Pakistan. He has authored several books including Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts (2018) and Delhi by Heart (2013).
Niloufer Siddiqui is an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York in the Department of Political Science. Niloufer completed her PhD in Political Science at Yale University in 2017. Her book project examines why political parties engage in violence and the variation in violence strategies that they employ. Other research interests include political behavior, the politics of religion and ethnicity, electoral dynamics in developing or transitioning democracies, and voters and foreign policy. Siddiqui previously worked at the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Islamabad and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York. She has an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in English from Haverford College.