Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world on 8th March. It brings women together to celebrate our shared achievements, challenges, history, intersectionality, inspirations, communities and more. We stand in solidarity with all women’s organisations fighting for equality, justice, change and empowerment. Our community of South Asian women share a rich and diverse history, especially in the UK where communities of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi origin have lived for generations. This year we mark International Women’s Day by sharing some insight into the challenges South Asian women experiencing domestic abuse face as some of the most marginalised members of society.
In 2022 equality has not been achieved anywhere in any country in the world. Being a woman means fewer opportunities and freedoms wherever you live. Women are more likely to attempt suicide and self-harm which can be linked to poverty, deprivation, psychological distress, and physical and sexual abuse. Women from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and women from Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Refugee (BAMER) backgrounds are more likely to have poor mental health (1). There is also a gap in service provision for women from BAMER backgrounds which contributes to poorer outcomes for women (2). For Asian women, the cultural pressures of remaining in an abusive relationship and being seen by the community as a dutiful wife often create significant further barriers for women trying to escape (3).
Social isolation, economic deprivation and housing remain significant issues of concern for our beneficiaries. Many of our clients tell us about the difficulties they have with housing. Over 95% are living in social housing, many in temporary accommodation and often in overcrowded, unsuitable, or poor standards of accommodation. The majority are also living on benefits and want to get into work or volunteer. Many have come to the UK from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh within the last 10 years and have never been in employment. Women are looking for support from us and each other.
In the face of all of this, women continue to come together and find empowerment. Having endured years of abuse, women move forward and thrive. There is empowerment in shared experience, joy in learning, pride in achievement and fulfilment from family and friends. Empowerment is not something that is imposed, it is shared. In our society, women, especially BAMER women and migrant women, can be minimised, marginalised, ignored, and undervalued. We recognise all the work that has been done by generations before us, here in the UK and across the world and remember our sisters in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This International Women’s Day we celebrate the empowerment of women and the work done every day to inspire meaningful change.
We invite you to stand with us in recognition of the work that has been done and the challenges that lie ahead to improve the lives of women in our communities across London. You can support us by raising awareness of our services, following us on Twitter, making a donation or simply telling someone you know about us if you think we could help.
#InternationalWomensDay2022 #IWD2022 #empowerment #SouthAsianCommunity
1 (Holmshaw & Hillier, 2000) 2 (Sanderson, 2008) 3 (Siddiqui, 2003)