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Farida Sultana(February 2012)

In this podcast Farida gives a keynote presentation at the hui.

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In a thought-provoking keynote presentation at the Decolonise Your Minds hui in Auckland, Farida Sultana shared insights from their journey and perception of the world. Recorded on February 5th, 2012, Sultana began by reflecting on their initial encounter with feminism in 1991 during a visit to a women's refuge in the UK. At the time, Sultana did not fully comprehend the feminist discussions but later came to understand their own feminist leanings when called out by Māori women in Hamilton, New Zealand.

While Sultana had not perceived themself as a feminist, others recognized feminism in their work and approach to life. An anecdote about being advised to "polish it down" when running for election points to the broader societal reluctance to embrace feminist ideals. Sultana's response highlights frustration with the expectation that one conform to societal norms rather than challenge them. Sultana emphasized the importance of not diluting one's beliefs to fit in, especially if doing so could hinder progress for future generations.

Reflecting on their past, Sultana recounted the unrecognized feminist actions of their aunts who defied societal norms in a Bangladeshi village and lived independently. Despite warnings from their mother to not emulate the aunts, Sultana found inspiration in their trailblazing ways.

Sultana detailed the foundation of Shakti organization in New Zealand which was established 15 years prior, born from a critical need for services for immigrant and refugee women, such as English language learning and support in coping with domestic violence. Sultana discussed the difficulties these women faced confronting patriarchal structures both within their communities and culturally insensitive institutions. The necessity of the organization became apparent when discussions surrounding domestic violence arose, highlighting the systemic issues these women faced.

Through personal stories, Sultana illustrated how the designation of 'other' exacerbated the challenges faced by ethnic minorities. The speech mentioned the detrimental effects of institutional racism, citing how the prevalence of key issues such as mental health struggles and discrimination in the workplace is often ignored.

The speaker concluded with a powerful call to action, urging people not to ignore racism, but to confront it head-on to pave the way for the next generation's progress. As an example, Sultana shared the story of a friend's daughter who, having grown up around feminist dialogue, chose to engage in activism herself.

Sultana's earnest appeal to the younger generation was to recognize the struggles and stand firm against societal pressures to conform. The speech left an impact, advocating that the battle for equality should continue, even if it means facing obstacles at every turn.

This presentation not only touched upon themes of feminism, activism, domestic violence, family, and immigration but also carried an underlying message of the importance of inclusivity, challenging existing norms, and striving for change. The original recording can be accessed at and is also archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:5th February 2012
Location:Ponsonby Community Centre, Auckland
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-003913).