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Parthian Books

Seventy Years of Struggle and Achievement: Life Stories of Ethnic Minority Women Living in Wales (Hardback)

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Edited and Selected by Meena Upadhyaya, Kirsten Lavine and Chris Weedon

Foreword by Julie Morgan and Jane Hutt
Introduction by Professor Terry Threadgold

The stories of women from Wales’ minority communities are seldom heard. This book comprises the life stories of forty Black Asian Minority Ethnic women that were finalists/winners for the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement award (2011-2019). The women featured include some from long-settled, often mixed families and women from various parts of South and East Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Their life experiences are a fundamental part of the history of multi-ethnic Wales. Individual stories testify both to the struggle and to the remarkable contribution that minority women have made to the many sectors of Welsh society.


Prof Meena Upadhyaya OBE obtained her PhD from Cardiff University and completed a fellowship with the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath). She is a Fellow and Council member for the Learned Society of Wales and the Royal College of Pathologists. She is an avid advocate for promoting equality, diversity, community cohesion, and integration. She is the founder and Chair of the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association (EMWWAA) and the Ethnic Minority Women in Welsh Healthcare (EMWWH).

Prof Chris Weedon has taught in the UK and Germany and currently teaches at Cardiff University since 1984. In 2010 she announced £4m funding for a project on multiculturalism at Cardiff University that would fund four PhD students, and the research would look at the challenges to culture for both white and black citizens.

Kirsten Lavine is an author, editor, oral historian and teacher originally from Canada. For over twenty years, she has worked extensively on a variety of oral and local history projects throughout the UK. Publications include Yarn Spinning, Bear in Mind, The Busworker, Twin Spire Life, From Baltic Sea to Baltic Wharf, Hineni: Life Portraits from a Jewish Community and A Measure of Light. Kirsten has also worked as an editor for a British history publisher and has taught ESL in various countries throughout the world.


The concept of the Welsh Asian Women Achievement Award (WAWAA) was first envisaged when our founder, Professor Meena Upadhyaya attended the Welsh Woman of the year award ceremony in Cardiff in 2008 as one of the finalists. Meena did not win the award, but she noticed that Asian women were markedly under-represented amongst the finalists. Meena also identified the need to recognise the talents of Asian women and girls and to increase their self-esteem and motivation.

The project, Welsh Asian Women Achievement Award (WAWAA) was initiated in 2010 and the first awards ceremony was held in 2011. Since then there has been no stopping us and we have proudly organised five award ceremonies to date, an accomplishment of which we are immensely proud.

Building on our success, The Welsh Asian Women Award - WAWAA - decided to embrace all black and minority ethnic women and girls in Wales. The organisation was re-branded as The Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association (EMWWA).