Muslim Aid Event: Women in International Development – In Conversation with Zainab Bangura
Date: 18th April 2019
This event was hosted by MCF’s member, Muslim Aid, to give women working in the international development sector an opportunity to have a frank discussion about the barriers facing female leadership in the sector. This conversation was part of the commitment Muslim Aid made to the Islamic Declaration on Gender Justice, initiated by Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Former special representative on sexual violence in conflict to the United Nations, Zainab Bangura inspired us with her wealth of knowledge and over 20 years of experience in her field. She discussed her experience of growing up in Sierra Leone and striving to challenge norms which have been forced on women, being resilient and courageous to challenge the status quo to make her way to senior positions.
Sara Pantuliano, current Director of the Overseas Development Institute and Vice Chair of Muslim Aid Trustees Board. Sara discussed how we can challenge to believe in potential in a number of ways and her experience dealing with global humanitarian issues especially In Sudan. Shahin Ashraf, who is Head of Advocacy at Islamic Relief Worldwide and centred her talk on leading the first Islamic Declaration on Gender Justice on action against gender inequality from an Islamic faith perspective and tackling bad practices.
The dialogue started at this event was essential as it was inspiring women to reach for what they would otherwise consider the unthinkable. However, follow-up action is essential. Organisations must make a commitment towards implementing new ways to ensure there is better representation of women across high level positions. There must be sustained, active efforts that encourage and support women to apply for such senior roles.