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Pragna Patel


Pragna Patel was born in Kenya, who moved with her Hindu family to the United Kingdom in the 1960s when Pragna was five years old. Responding to the experience of isolation in a mostly white University community, and the underrepresentation of black and Asian feminists within the Women’s Liberation Movement, Pragna became a founding member of Southall Black Sisters (SBS). SBS is a not-for-profit secular and inclusive organisation established in 1979 to support black and minority ethnic women. Pragna worked as a case-worker at SBS for a decade, before training to be a solicitor in 1993. While practising as a solicitor she remained involved with the organisation, and in 2009 she returned as the Director of Southall Black Sisters. Over the years, she has played a vital role in some of the most renowned cases with which SBS has been involved, and which have been pivotal in securing legal change for victims of domestic violence and other gender-based abuse. For example, Southall Black Sisters supported Kiranjit Ahluwahlia in a case that was central to the feminist campaign for legal reform of the defences to murder for women who kill their abusive partners. In addition to her work with SBS, Pragna co-founded Women Against Fundamentalism, an organisation which fostered women’s solidarity across communities, identifying and challenging gendered and racialized power-structures within faith-based communities. In 2001, Pragna was listed in The Guardian’s Top 100 Women in appreciation of her work and activism, and recognising her place in the history of Black and Asian feminism.

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