WHO ARE WE?
The Rights Collective is a group of South Asian womxn who are looking to tackle the distinct and often subtle ways in which women’s disempowerment and inequality manifests within the Diaspora community in the UK - exploring both the public and private domains.
This type of disempowerment is often justified by our community itself, on the basis of historical socio-cultural and religious norms. Womxn are often in less powerful positions and certain other identities (such as caste and sexuality) are more likely to face violent forms of gender based discrimination.
At The Rights Collective, we believe it is our duty to dismantle and subvert some of these norms within our own spaces. We work to better understand how gendered experiences manifest for self identifying Hindu womxn (whether they are practicing religiously or identify with the cultural community) in the U.K. and how we can facilitate a shift towards equality.
We are interested in the implications of the identity of being culturally Hindu on the manifestation of gender based violence and will not generally be debating the philosophical ramifications of identifying as Hindu as part of our work.
We do not condone any sort of fascist or patriarchal beliefs or practises regardless of whether they are borne of religious beliefs.
WHY ARE WE TAKING ACTION NOW?
Our collective and individual experiences have shown us how cultural practices, deeply embedded socio-cultural norms, and the ‘immigrant’ experience can negatively shape and uphold notions of what womxn should be. Added to this comes deeply ingrained stereotypes of what a South Asian womxn should be and what she is expected to accept with regard to her right to determine the parameters of her life and reality.
We are cognizant of how external views of the community can be limiting in reaching the crux of the issues. Often, we see how perceptions of our communities can extend certain negative tropes. We see how ideas of ‘looking bad’ and “log kya kahenge” can be restrictive in opening up an honest dialogue.
We also understand that many issues relating to gender and women’s empowerment can become confined to private spaces, allowing them to fester within the community instead of being addressed.
As such, we wish to be an open space for our communities to address concerns using our own voice and language. We refuse to let our issues be hijacked by outsiders, many of whom may harbour alternative agendas. We seek to consider the following questions:
How do we break free of this negative cycle, provide space for change and address the issues that stem from gender inequality?
How can those who hold power in our communities themselves better support and elevate the voices of those who are marginalised?
How can we ensure that institutional structures respond in a more nuanced and informed way to the issues within our communities?
WHAT WE DO
BREAKING THE SILENCE
Focus on understanding what the issue is, encouraging people to talk about it more openly, building trust and relationships.
CULTIVATING A NEW CULTURE
Raising awareness, educating and changing the underlying socio-cultural norms that allow gender inequality to persist.
CO- CREATING SPACES FOR SUPPORT
Bring together services that might support women in times of need.