The social reality of Asian women’s lives in Britain is constituted around a complex articulation of the economic, political, and cultural modalities which mark the interrelationship between ‘race’, class, ethnicity, and gender. To understand fully the life experiences of Asian women in Britain, it is necessary to analyse the socio-cultural processes of colonialism and imperialism, the historical basis of the international division of labour, and the position of women in the global economy. It is also important to address issues of politics and identity. These are linked processes-some complementary, others contradictory. The question is not, as it is often posed, whether patriarchal relations predate capitalism, for they patently do, but rather how gender relations are constituted in articulation with class, racism, ethnicity or sexuality in the construction of capitalist, imperialist, or indeed any other form of social relation, and what type of identities are inscribed in the process. The point is that concepts such as capitalism, patriarchy or imperialism do not signal independent, albeit interlocking systems. Rather, these concepts signify contingent relations of power, so that, for instance, capitalist relations are themselves patriarchal, taking varying forms in different contexts.