The construction of an ethnic identity is based on the confluence of self and culture. Ethnic groups in the diaspora preserve ethnic identity by expecting adherence to communal and social codes and the Punjabi community in the UK is no exception. The construction of women as the repository of honour or izzat is the most important construct used to establish cultural order. This equates women with collective honour resulting in extreme psychological, mental and physical control over them. Therefore, they are unable to dissociate themselves from this construct and find themselves trapped within its confines. This paper locates Provoked by Kiranjit Ahluwalia and Rahila Gupta and Shame and Daughters of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera in this context outlining the establishment and exertion of this construct, which perpetuates patriarchal order. It argues that the act of utterance through the autobiographies creates a space for alternative means of self-definition and presents counter-narratives to this hegemonic discourse. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.