Rakhshinda Parveen

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Rakhshinda Parveen was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Gender dynamics in Pakistan is a sensitive issue—and until now no one has fully addressed its complexities. Men dominate power positions, relying on religious and cultural institutions to maintain their status; meanwhile, women are veiled and hidden at home to restrict their visibility and mobility. When any threat to the existing gender system is perceived, the male response is often defensive or violent.
Rakhshinda’s campaign is championing the ideas of gender inclusion and equality in hopes of changing these ingrained cultural norms. With initial philanthropic funding, she has opened the Agehi Resource Center (ARC), where workers compile statistics on gender violence and discrimination to use in the campaign. They also run community reproductive and family planning health facilities, and are spearheading the Fight Against Dowry (FAD) movement aimed at abolishing a dowry tradition that causes violence against both women and men.
Rakhshinda realizes that young minds are ripe for gender education. She is building a youth volunteer network across the country—connected by the Internet—and a weekly educational television series. Through a flurry of campaign activities—signature collections, poster competitions, spot television interviews, meetings, news bulletins, legislative consultation, and Internet networking—Rakhshinda’s campaign against gender-related violence is ever-expanding throughout Pakistan.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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