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About Rahila Gupta

Rahila Gupta is a freelance journalist and writer. Her work has appeared in The Guardian and New Humanist among other papers and magazines. Her books include, Enslaved: The New British Slavery; From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters; Provoked;  and 'Don't Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong (Playdead Press, 2013). She is co-authoring a book with Beatrix Campbell with the title Why Doesn’t Patriarchy Die? Follow her on twitter @ RahilaG


Articles by Rahila Gupta

This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

70 years after partition: is India, like Pakistan, turning to religious extremism?

Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar's brave new documentary, Azmaish, looks at retreats from liberal democracy on both sides of the border.

The right to blasphemy: is this the boundary between civilisation and barbarism?

Former Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui collects fatwas like badges of honour. Her recent book outlines similarities between the Islamic and European far right.

“I don’t want to die because I’m an atheist”: ex-Muslims speak out

In the UK and beyond, filmmaker Deeyah Khan has documented the experiences of ex-Muslims and the “extraordinary levels of persecution, abuse and discrimination they face”.

Surviving a machete attack: the story of Bangladeshi-American freethinker Bonya Ahmed

The growth of religious fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh poses life-threatening challenges to atheists and secularists.

Where is the line between Islam and Islamism?

A recent conference on freedom of expression threw up issues around relationships between ex-Muslims and reformist Muslims – and the ideological confusion of their allies.

The politics of nudity as feminist protest – from Ukraine to Tunisia

Frontline activists, including women who use their topless bodies as political statements, are gathering in London to deplore threats to free expression worldwide.

Brexit: where were women’s voices?

Recent creative writing and films feature women’s voices on Brexit, many of whom explore the paradox of migrants voting to leave the EU.

“There is no such thing as a child prostitute”: a review of the BBC’s Three Girls

This is BBC drama at its best. But the privatisation of care homes, and how grooming impacts the families of perpetrators, were blind spots.

How Rojava-inspired women's councils have spread across Europe

Could this little-known system provide a way forward for real democracy – from the bottom up – in our failing neoliberal political systems?

Gender and fundamentalism: when religion muscles in on development

The truism that there cannot be real development without women’s participation needs a caveat: women’s rights cannot be achieved while religious forces are involved in development.

Women on the front at Raqqa: an interview with Kimmie Taylor

What is the reality of war like for the women of Rojava as they advance on Raqqa? Kimmie Taylor from Britain is on the frontline and puts us in the picture.

‘Woman’ has become a dirty word

The Women’s Marches' use of ‘pussy’ as a symbol has led to accusations that they were trans-exclusionary.  Are we witnessing the erasure of woman as a sex category?

'We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn.'

An art project on two narrow boats hitched together on a canal in northern England is celebrating co-dependency - countering both the racial divide and the massive cuts to women’s services.

One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: "It ruined my life forever"

“My daughter and I appeared before the Sharia court at Regent's Park mosque in London. They were not interested in anything we had to say, the whole process was shocking.”

Imagine a feminist village of the future

On the last day of the AWID International Forum in Brazil, more than two thousand women came together to help imagine a feminist future, and to look at the hard realities of getting there.

Feminist inclusivity and moving onto the agenda

While feminist activists fight for inclusion in social agendas, how far have women’s movements themselves met the challenge of inclusivity? From AWID International Forum in Bahia, Brazil.

Taxing lives, trading women

Tax havens and international trade deals are feminist issues. At this year’s AWID conference in Brazil, activists from across the globe are discussing strategies for engaging with these systems.

'Feminist Futures': activists from across the globe gather in Brazil

The AWID International Forum in Bahia has started. We meet some of the 2,000 women brought together under the 'Feminist Futures' banner, including a lesson from Tanzania in how to employ a holistic approach.

Reclaiming Black women’s history: the Montgomery bus boycott 60 years on

With police violence against Black communities giving rise to the #Blacklivesmatter campaign, anniversaries of civil rights victories are an opportunity to bring to light the invisible actors behind historic moments. 

Rojava revolution: how deep is the change?

Is optimism in the future of revolutionary change misplaced in a region torn apart by war and a society where patriarchy has been so entrenched?  Part 6 of Witnessing the Rojava revolution.

Rojava revolution: on the hoof

Rojava is a fast moving, dynamic place where things change by the minute. What are the material conditions which support this woman-centred revolution ? Part 5 of 50.50's series  Witnessing the revolution in Rojava, northern Syria.

Rojava revolution: reshaping masculinity

Rojava's battle with ISIS stronghold  Raqqa is not simply a military one, but an ideological one in which the position of women could not be more polarised. Part 4.

Rojava revolution: It’s raining women

In less than four years, the women’s umbrella organisation, Kongira Star, has set up an autonomous, grassroots, democratic structure which has resulted in shifting patriarchal mindsets and reversing gender discriminatory laws. Part 3.

Rojava’s commitment to Jineolojî: the science of women

Travelling in Rojava is to witness the ways in which the different commitments to the revolution present a conundrum. How can one system satisfy the vast differences in human aspirations? Part 2. Part 1.

A revolution for our times: Rojava, Northern Syria

Travelling in Rojava is to witness a revolution experimenting with a form of stateless, direct democracy with women’s liberation, race and class equality at the heart of it. Part 1.

Defining modern slavery out of existence: who benefits?

Academics who suggest that the very idea of ‘modern slavery’ is inane and clichéd undermine anti-slavery activism and deny an appalling reality for thousands who are trafficked, sold and enslaved.

Mona Eltahawy and sexual revolution in the Middle East

'Traumatised into feminism,' Mona Eltahawy speaks of her decision to unveil and understanding that 'Muslim women’s bodies are the medium upon which culture is engraved, be it through headscarves or cutting.'

16 Days: cutting Black and minority ethnic women's organisations

The EU Victims Directive comes into force this month. Will it prevent the further decimation of Black and minority ethnic organisations offering specialised services to women facing violence in the UK? 

16 Days: asset stripping the women’s sector in the UK

The quality of service in the independent women's sector is no guarantee against the future as the British government continues its assault on specialist women’s services protecting women from violence. 

Preventing violent extremism: a noose that is both too tight and too loose

The British government's programme to counter violent extremism hands religious fundamentalists the gift of a narrative of victimhood, narrowing the political space for secular feminists and others to challenge fundamentalism.

Freedom to speak? No-go areas and unsafe spaces

At the heart of the debate on free speech and censorship are contested understandings of where power resides. Where should the line be drawn?

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s gift to British women?

Jeremy Corbyn's Working with Women policy document has been well received by feminists, but the silence on the intersectionality of religious fundamentalism and women’s oppression, and on prostitution, raises questions.

Pragna Patel: a politics of hope and not hate

"At the heart of my work is the idea that human beings are to be intrinsically valued, that we can all co-exist through mutual respect and rights."  - Pragna Patel

Migrant women in the UK: settling for rather than settling in

Women with a high level of educational qualifications who migrate to the UK to join their British husbands are finding the path to employment strewn with obstacles.

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