On a mission

Woman in rural Pakistan sets up all-female assembly to challenge area’s all-male one

(Screen Shot/BBC)

In Swat valley, a remote area of Pakistan, Tabassum Adnan has set up an all-women assembly, known as a jirga, in order to work for women’s rights and challenge the all-male assembly that decides matters of dispute within the community. “We created this all-women jirga,” says Adnan, “because traditionally we have had an all-male jirga and women aren’t allowed to take part at any level. Women are given away as compensation in honor-related disputes but when it comes to decision making, women are kept away.”

Adnan, a survivor of an abusive marriage herself, says her priority is women’s rights but that now her jirga has gained prominence she’s even being asked for help by men “with inheritance disputes, murder, honor, rape, and minority-related issues.” Not all the community is supportive. Adnan has received numerous threats of violence, a problem that has escalated since being honored by the US government for her work. But she remains unintimidated. “This is my mission in life,” she says, “so whether somebody kills me or I die a natural death I will keep working until my last breath.”

Read the full story at BBC News.

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