Creating a fairer Britain
The inaugural Muslim Women Power List 2009 is a celebration of the 100,000 Muslim women currently working in Britain. It pays tribute to those who are on the way to - or have already reached - the top of their chosen field, be that business, civil service, arts, media or the public sector.
The Commission, in association with The Times and Emel magazine, has published the List this week, and it will be launched at a gala dinner in Manchester on 24 March.
The aim of the List is to challenge some of the stereotypes about Muslim women, and to highlight the fact that they share the ambitions and challenges of all working women: to succeed at a good job and often to combine marriage and motherhood with a fulfilling career. We hope that the List will act as a professional social network for working Muslim women, allowing them to benefit from each other’s experiences in the workplace.
‘There aren’t many groups I can think of who are more stereotyped, yet less understood by the wider community, than working Muslim women,’ says Trevor Phillips, EHRC chairman. ‘I hope this list will make the rest of Britain sit up and take note – many members of the Muslim community are making a valuable economic and social contribution to our future.’
In January 2009 we issued a call to companies and organisations to nominate their employees. We received over 250 high quality nominations, from which our panel of judges - Baroness Sarah Hogg, Chairman of 3i; Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; Sarah Joseph, editor of Emel Magazine; Michael Binyon, diplomatic editor and leader writer for The Times and Sara Friend, Legal Director, British Olympic Association – selected the 50 remarkable women who make up the Power List 2009.
Mishal Husain, 36, presenter, BBC One and BBC World News
‘My faith is one aspect of my identity. I’m a wife, a mother, a journalist, a British citizen, someone who loves books… I’ve thought harder about my faith since 9/11 and since becoming a mother. I’m more conscious of passing on traditions to my children, because knowing who you are is a solid base for a child.’
Baroness Warsi, 37, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action
‘I’d prefer to work in a world where we didn’t have to single out Muslim women for their achievements in order to make a point. Having said that, I’m honoured to be on this list, because the man in the street simply doesn’t think of Muslim women as high achievers.’
Zahida Manzoor CBE, 50, legal services complaints commissioner and legal services ombudsman for England and Wales
‘I would like to think the stereotype of subservient women is changing. For women generally we talk about the glass ceiling, but for ethnic minority women, particularly Muslim women, we’re talking about breaking the concrete skirting board. It is that difficult.’