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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, From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters; Provoked;  Enslaved: The New British Slavery, and 'Don't Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong (Playdead Press, 2013).  Follow her on twitter @ RahilaG

Articles by Rahila Gupta

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

UK border agents in the house of God

Immigration officers are now being placed in religious institutions.  It may not be too farfetched to ask: how long before we’re forced to wear our immigration status on our sleeves?

The personal is political: the journey of a feminist slogan

All successful slogans are subject to misappropriation: it is a sign of their success. The personal is political – but mind the gap.

Amnesty International: some alliances are more impartial than others

The recent furore surrounding Cage’s defence of ‘Jihadi John’ has reopened the debate on appropriate alliances between Cage and human rights organisations.

Roast or toast? Mapping changes in violent men

Recognising that we have reached a stalemate in dealing with violent men, and an impasse in policy and research on perpetrator programmes, there is fresh interest in whether men can be engaged in a process of change.

Women defenders of human rights: the good, the great and the gutsy

Harriet Wistrich is a beacon in the darkness that threatens to engulf the British legal system today with massive cuts in legal aid, and the prevailing culture of disbelief of asylum seekers and women escaping violence.

What will it take to end violence against women in the UK?

A decade on from the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, progressive policy, laws and attitudes are being undermined by draconian cuts to legal aid which are drastically reducing access to legislation put in place to protect women against violence.

Is denying a visa to Julien Blanc the wrong strategy?

More than 275,000 people have signed online petitions to stop Julien Blanc from entering the UK. Banning undesirables from entering Britain by invoking immigration laws has a long history, but is this the best way to tackle Blanc's racism and sexism?

'Victim' vs 'Survivor': feminism and language

Rahila Gupta argues that the term ‘victim’ needs to be reclaimed by feminist politics; whilst 'survivor' is important because it recognises the agency of women, it focuses on individual capacity, but the notion of 'victim' reminds us of the stranglehold of the system.

Apostasy and asylum: escaping the clutches of religion

In countries where there are no apostasy laws, blasphemy laws are frequently used to persecute and punish apostates. Rahila Gupta reports on how the dangers of apostasy in Muslim majority countries is making British courts more open to granting asylum.

Sri Lanka: women in conflict

What happened to the aspirations of Tamil women in the national liberation struggle which lasted nearly 30 years? Rahila Gupta covered the conflict in the mid-80s, and reflects on the situation today when the war appears to be decisively over, but the post-war reality remains as harrowing as ever, particularly for women.

The Modern Slavery Bill: does the British government really care?

If we are really serious about abolishing slavery in the west today, Rahila Gupta argues that we have to abolish immigration controls so that people can take action against their abusers without fearing deportation.

Women demand freedom, not surveillance

In the wake of the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi in December 2012, Kavita Krishnan shot to international fame when her speech demanding protection of a ‘woman’s freedom, not her body’ went viral. She spoke to Rahila Gupta about her campaigning work for women's rights.

Red tape or a red rag?: the Equality Act in the UK

With austerity measures in full swing, the government's decision to review the duty on state and government bodies to proactively tackle women's inequality in the UK has raised alarm bells amongst leading women's rights organisations

Power structures and the politics of knowledge production

With the publication of the updated Beyond the Fragments, Hilary Wainwright spoke to Rahila Gupta about the politics of knowledge and using her experience of the women’s movement to address the question of how to realise the capacities of each for the benefit of all as the basis for alternative, horizontal models of political organisation.

Transgender: the challenge to feminist politics

There are so many battles yet to be won by feminists that we must not be distracted by internal schisms. If we can identify a shared political goal with trans women, says Rahila Gupta, we should be able to end this polarisation.

Women and LGBT rights: the Achilles’ heel of Christian knights

The narrative of splits in Protestantism which is based on convenient binaries, with African and Asian churches emerging as the conservatives, and the US and Europe as the liberals, fails to capture the complexity of what is going on at ground level, says Rahila Gupta

Away from prison: the distance travelled

The British government's new policy of cutting re-offending rates by introducing a crude payment-by-results won't work. There should be many markers of success. Rahila Gupta watched Jen Joseph and Carrie Rock performing in Phyllida Lloyd's production of Julius Caesar

The value of a woman's life

We need to make sure that we do not take the blame for the violence that is visited upon us. We need to develop a sense of self that cannot be eroded, a sense of self that is rounded and whole. It is what saves a woman in the final analysis.

Sexual violence in Indian cities

A Gallup poll finding that women in Rwanda and Bangladesh felt safer on the streets than women in the UK and Sweden needs to be treated with great caution. There is no correlation between 'feeling safe' and the objective reality of whether women are actually safe or not, says Rahila Gupta.

Can a story save a life? Women and the Arab uprisings

As Tahrir Square fills up again and the Arab uprisings continue, the power of words and the battle over who owns them is captured by six middle eastern playwrights whose work Arab Nights is being performed in London

Taking a flawed stand against orientalism

In a response to openDemocracy's 'Citizenship after Orientalism' series, Rahila Gupta says there's no need to ditch values such as secularism and modernity - just point out that they’re not associated wholly with the West. This, she argues, would be the appropriate response to orientalism

No exceptions: one law for all

Should we be worried that a parallel legal system is creeping into existence in the UK when one law for all should be the defining principle of a liberal democracy? asks Rahila Gupta

The issues that divide: building a diverse feminist movement

Recognition that identity politics had immobilised and fragmented the women's movement has driven the search for diversity among young feminists. Rahila Gupta asks: Who can, should and does the women’s movement speak for?

The great unmentionable in disability politics

"I felt there was no space for me to express grief at my son's disability". The grief of those who care for people with a disability is betrayal of the Cause. Rahila Gupta asks: how do you value disability at the same time as mourn the loss of ability?

The hijab or the bikini: the shaping of young girls’ sexuality

Where the line will be drawn between childrens' rights and parents’ rights will always be heavily contested. Issues from the veiling of young girls to the manufacture of padded bras for seven year olds, may best be dealt with by upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

UK migration: a hierarchy of injustices

The social cohesion and inclusion debate does not even begin to touch the lives of those invisible migrants who toil all hours of the day working out ways of pleasing their employers / traffickers / husbands. It is the existence of this population, more than any other, which exposes the myth of democratic universalism

Faith: know thy place

The feminist critique of religion should not appease the strident voices which label secularism as fundamentalist or militant by promoting a secularism that has had its teeth drawn. Feminists must continue to argue for a robust secularism and the right to stand against religion, argues Rahila Gupta

Has neoliberalism knocked feminism sideways?

Feminism needs to recapture the state from the neoliberal project to which it is in hock in order to make it deliver for women. It must guard against atomisation and recover its transformative aspirations to shape the new social order that is hovering on the horizon, says Rahila Gupta

Lush – cosmetic or real?

The EU is on the point of turning its back on the Schengen agreement. Welcome to the World Passport: 'this document confirms that its bearer is a human being, and not an alien'. Rahila Gupta reports on the campaign for open borders

Feminism and the soul of secularism

Secularism, as a concept, appears to be in danger from both the left and the right. Among feminists, it tends to be only some minority women scrambling for the soul of secularism. It is time for all feminists to muck in, says Rahila Gupta
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