(1960 on) – Women’s Rights Activist
Pragna Patel is the founder and Director of Southall Black Sisters Centre, a multi-award-winning women’s organisation founded in 1979 to address the needs of black and minority women experiencing gender violence. It successfully campaigned for the release of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, a landmark case in which an Asian woman was convicted of the murder of her violent husband. The case reformed homicide law, creating greater awareness within and outside minority communities. Pragna is also a co-founder of Women Against Fundamentalism. She stood down as Director of Southall Black Sisters in January 2022, but remains the embodiment of intersectional feminism.
Although I’ve long known about Southall Black Sisters, a women’s rights organisation based near where I grew up in west London, I didn’t know much about founding member Pragna Patel until I’d long left the area. A feminist campaigner, she was one of those few Asian women standing up against and calling out female oppression, particularly in the South Asian communities of the UK, before anyone else. She’s brave and unflinching in her activism.