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Navigating activism, politics and modernity in Pakistan


Edited by Sherry Rehman




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.



“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



ISBN: 978-969-7834-27-3
Folio Books
Weight in kg: 0.5
Release date:
March 28, 2021
Rights: World
Binding: Hardback