Tabassum Adnan (Urdu: تبسم عدنان) (born 1977) is a women's rights activist from Pakistan. In 2015, she won the U.S. State Department's International Women of Courage Award because of her work for justice for Pakistani women.
The jirga for womenEdit
Tabassum did not have a home or money, so she went to a local group for women. The group gave her the idea to work for more participation for women. First, she went to the Swat Qaumi Aman Jirga, a group with only men, but they refused her.  A jirga is an informal court that enforces qisas (retribution laws). It is not a formal court, but many times the formal courts will listen to their decisions. 
In May 2013, Adnan started her own jirga. It was the first women's jirga in Pakistan. 
In Pakistan, women are used as chattel, or property, to settle disagreements between men. They are traded in marriage to pay debts and claims of honor, and to pay for crimes. Because women have little power, Adnan knew that her group needed to get the police and the courts to act. Her jirga has 25 women. It works to pressure the police and the traditional court system, and it gives legal help to the victims. The Khwendo Jirga, or Sister’s Council also works for free education for girls, good health for women and girls, training in both home skills and work skills, loans for small business, and voting.  The jirga also works for laws to stop violence against women, especially honor killings, dowry harassments, acid attacks, and torture. 
At first, the men's jirgas did not like the Khwendo Jirga. Women's rights activists did not like it either. Then, in 2014, that changed. A child was raped, and the authorities did nothing. Khwendo Jirga had a protest walk, to attract the attention of the public. The police made arrests. Then, for the first time in Pashtun history, a woman, Adnan, was asked to sit on the men's jirga and help decide the case.  After the first protest, the women had more success.  In July, 2014, Adnan and Khwendo Jirga worked to pass a law against child marriage. Although some religious groups were not happy,  the Sindh Assembly passed a law against marriages for anyone under the age of eighteen.  In December, 2014 the Punjab Assembly voted to change the present law.
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