Press Releases

The Hidden United Kingdom – University of Reading

Release Date : 09 February 2004

mandana hendessiThe United Kingdom is no longer simply four nations bound together, but a highly complex multi-cultural and multi-faith society, says women's rights campaigner Mandana Hendessi. In her Reading Town Hall Lecture on Monday 16 February, Ms Hendessi will focus on the experiences of Asian women in the UK. She will look at the Islamic dimension as well as cultural, tribal and community traditions which control every aspect of their lives and rights from education to marriage, divorce and work. Born in Iran, Mandana Hendessi is a lead commissioner on Muslim women's issues at the Women's National Commission. Her lecture will draw on her wide-ranging experiences of working with women who have to overcome considerable barriers before they can become fully integrated in society. "Cultural and religious tolerance are generally advocated as the key to creating an inclusive society, but in reality the issues are far more complex," says Ms Hendessi. "What if a culture or religion inherently disregards basic human rights? How can people whose cultural and religious traditions oppose their full engagement with the life and freedoms of the United Kingdom ever feel like anything but outsiders looking in?" In 1979, Ms Hendessi helped to found the Southall Black Sisters, a black feminist group that campaigns on issues of gender violence. Since then much of her career has been devoted to working with charities and the public sector to enhance the provision of services for socially excluded groups, in particular for women from ethnic minorities. This year's Town Hall lecture series, which is organised by the University of Reading's School of Continuing Education, is entitled 'United Kingdom?' and aims to explore our national identity as a unified kingdom. Ms Hendessi's lecture starts at 7.30pm and tickets (£7) can be booked in advance through the Hexagon Box Office on 0118 960 6060, and are also available at the door on the night. End For media enquiries, please contact Craig Hillsley, Press Officer, University of Reading. Tel: 0118 378 7388 E-mail:


Search Form

Main navigation