Who is today’s British Asian Woman?

There’s so much diversity among the female Asian community in Britain today.

Despite that many of us were born here, our parents were not. And because of this, we grew up as sort of foreigners in a host nation. We ate rice and subji on a Sunday, not roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. We had ‘funny sounding’ names- often the only ones on the class register. Our mums wore lengha suits and saris to pick us up from school – she was the woman dressed in bright orange!

Today we speak two (maybe more) languages. Our parents and extended families are a part of our daily lives, and not just relatives to be tolerated on special occasions. We may watch Bollywood films, but Hollywood films far outnumber on our DVD shelves. We love to settle down with a pizza- but we cook a mean chicken bhiriyani!

Some of us have had arranged marriages and live with in-laws. We’re raising kids that’ll be the next generation of British Asians. Others among us chose to marry non-Asian men and are living in the suburbs (and elsewhere) raising mixed-race children, and are living out the experience of having access to two different cultures.

For those of us who are single, our search for love probably looks quite different to that of the previous generation. Dating sites, speed dating, even dating itself (albeit perhaps chaperoned for some communities) are a feature of that quest- we’re no longer just using the traditional route of introductions through family.

And no longer are Asian women just expected to get married and breed more Asians- certainly many have fought for this choice. Think of the many British Asian women in public life: in the media, in government just to name two arenas. We’re blazing a trail for the next generation- showing them that we can achieve so much more, and this is not to be underestimated.

Today our faces are part of the very fabric of this country- and how fantastic that is. We grew up here, are raising our families here, and call Britain our home. We are not just Pakistani, Indian or Sri Lankan women, we’re British Asian women.

Do you identify with any of this? Or perhaps you find my viewpoint narrow and wholly disagree? Either way, stay a while and please engage- I love a good discussion!

You can also email me editor@britishasianwoman.com

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