| INTERNATIONAL WOMEN\'S DAY MESSAGE |
Despite the momentum in the advancement of women's rights, violence against women and girls is still the most widespread form of abuse in the world.
You must also be outraged every time you hear about victims of violence such as: the 23-year-old woman , who was beaten, raped and tortured by six men on a bus in New Delhi ; the 17-year-old gang-raped and murdered in South Africa , her throat slit and body mutilated by a broken bottle; Malala “ the 15 year old who was shot for campaigning for girls education; the hundreds of girls abused or raped by Jimmy Saville ; or the victims of sexual exploitation by gangs of men in Britain. We know that these are only a handful of cases, as most cases do not reach the media.
However, we must turn our outrage into action. Changing attitudes of men and boys must be integral to reducing violence because the levels of violence are indicative of the lack of respect for women and girls. Men and boys need to be educated that violence is unacceptable and never justifiable while women and girls must be encouraged to not continue accepting violence. Let's reach out to men and ask them to partner with women and act in solidarity to fight against all forms of violence.
On International Women's Day , I praise and admire all those, women and also men, who are already working tirelessly to advance the rights of women whether internationally, nationally, or in their local communities.
Shaista Gohir MBE
|Founding member and Honorary President of MWNUK, Baroness Afshar, received the annual British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Award , for Services to Middle Eastern Studies. Haleh Afshar is a Professor at the University of York teaching Politics and Women's Studies and also serves as a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords . She was awarded the honor, after delivering the BRISMES Annual Lecture at LSE on 16th January 2013. Clickherefor more.|
Sky News, ITV News and BBC News interviewed Chair of MWNUK, Shaista Gohir , on 4th January 2013 about Malala as an inspirational role model . Sky News also interviewed Shaista about Malala's reconstruction surgery on 30th January 2013. You can view some of the interviews here:
Sky News Interview 1
Sky News Interview 2
ITV News Interview
Jo Swinson MP (Minister for Women and Equality) invited five women for a private roundtable discussion, including Shaista Gohir to represent MWNUK. Other women's groups represented included: Girl Guiding, Feminista, Object and Imkaan . Issues discussed included: female genital mutilation, labioplasty, body image, portrayal of women in advertising, film and media, impact of pornography, attitudes of men and boys and the role education / schools can play in changing attitudes.
|As MWNUK are members of the NSPCC National Muslim Advisory Group , MWNUK General Secretary, Mussurut Zia , attended the meeting. Many different issues were discussed including abuse of disabled children and abuse in Madrassahs . MWNUK will be working in partnership (resources permitted) with the NSPCC to conduct a workshop on parents rights and their awareness of what they can ask from Madrassahs and on reporting or discussing any concerns without fear of repercussions.|
|MWNUK are a member of the Muslim Marriage Group . A meeting was held at the Ministry of Justice and attended by MWNUK General Secretary, Mussurut Zia . Discussions included the importance of civil registration of marriages in ensuring access to rights should a marriage breakdown and whether registering of mosques and individuals would assist more registrations. MWNUK will be partnering with the Ministry of Justice and holding a consultation to explore solutions .|
Board member, Dr Iram Sattar
, who is also a GP
, was asked to contribute towards an article in the Pulse magazine
. Three GPs, including Iram were asked to write and opinion piece about how they would respond to a young Pakistani female
attending surgery who had been threated with violence
from a male family member for having a relationship with someone of a different faith. The article can be viewedhere
|For International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (6th Feb 2013), MWNUK teamed up with StretLaw to produce a podcast on FGM . Vice Chair of MWNUK, Nazmin Akthar , discussed the issue with Nimco Ali , who is a victim of FGM and from the organisation Daughters of Eve . Throughout the recording, the panel accepted live questions via Twitter. You can listen to and download the podcasthere.|
Across the world women were RISING to end VIOLENCE against women and girls as a part of the global ONE BILLION RISING movement, which was marked on the 14th February 2013 . As changing attitudes is the first step to reducing violence, Muslim Women's Network UK launched a campaign to encourage more mosques to get involved in tackling violence against women and girls. We sent postcards to 100 mosques across the UK and requested they pledge an action to combat violence and help us to reach out to men and boys. Several mosques including Birmingham Central mosque and Regents Park mosque have pledges support for the campaign. To find out more and which mosques were contacted, please visit ourcampaigns page.
|Chair of MWNUK, Shaista Gohir , has been invited by Musawah (www.musawah.org) to become a member of their International Advisory Group , which is their highest organising committee. She will be joining other activists from Middle East, Africa, and Asia at the next planning meeting in Cairo in April 2013 .|
| Violence against women continues to remain under reported . Women from black and ethnic minority communities face additional cultural barriers that prevent them from seeking help such as dishonor, shame, stigma, taboo and being rejected by the community. To make seeking advice easier, MWNUK are working in partnership with West Midlands Police and piloting an informal weekly two-hour drop-in session , where women and girls can speak to a female police officer in confidence and talk through their options in a safe space. This project was started in February and women have used the service already. We would encourage members to also contact their local police forces and work with them to pilot similar drop-in sessions.|
|MWNUK's Annual General Meeting took place at the House of Lords on 4th March . Guests were invited by MWNUK founding member and Honorary President, Baroness Haleh Afshar . Due to unforeseen personal circumstances Baroness Afshar was unable to attend and Baroness Uddin kindly stood in and hosted the event. The keynote speaker Jo Swinson MP (Minister for Women and Equalities) spoke about violence against women. There was also a panel on sexual violence against women and girls and speakers included: Mussurut Zia (Board member), Alyas Karmani (Co-Director of Street UK) and Jaspreet Buttar and Tayyibah Akhtar ( Bradford Rape Crisis “ Jyoti Project ). Our youngest guests included pupils from Bordseley Green Girls School (Birmingham), who also met the Minister and Baroness Uddin. The photos from the event can be viewedhere.|
|MWNUK Vice Chair, Nazmin Akthar , was invited by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to participate in a video conference with schools across the globe as part of International Womens Day. She spoke to students at Surda School in Palestine, Modern Systems School in Jordan, Al Mashrekh School and Cambridge High School in UAE. The focus of the discussions were on rights of women ; topics ranged from the rights of women in Islam and patriarchal misinterpretations, female genital mutilation and violence against women generally, legal pluralism, banning of the hijab as well as the importance of education in promoting rights and combating violence against women.|
| EQUALS is a coalition of more than 30 international and national NGOs including Action Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children, Women for Women International, Women's Aid, UK Feminista, who are striving to bring greater awareness to important issues affecting women worldwide. Muslim Women's Network UK have been formerly invited to join the coalition steering group made up of several members. To mark International Women's Day, Equals will be publishing a letter signed by high profile men and women calling to end violence against women. Signatories include Annie Lennox and Elton John. For further details:http://www.weareequals.org|
|A coalition of organisations, including Muslim Women\'s Network UK came together and wrote a public letter about the British government\'s response to CEDAW. The groups applauded the government's engagement with international human rights mechanisms. However they expressed concern at what has been revealed in the latest reporting to the United Nations Committee monitoring the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of DiscriminationAgainst Women ( CEDAW ). Board Director, Robina Iqbal who was a co-signatory to the letter on behalf of MWNUK, is has also be involved in contributing towards the Shadow CEDAW report. The letter can be viewedhere.|
|MWNUK are currently conducting pilot research into the sexual exploitation of Asian girls and collecting case studies. So if you would like to contribute, please contact us.|
UPDATE FROM MEMBERS
|The Disabled Muslims Network is a support network for Muslims who have a disability or chronic health condition and for Muslim parents with disabled children and for their family and friends. You can subscribe to the network by visiting:http://www.disabledmuslimsnetwork.com|
| Spurgeons (www.spurgeons.org) are running free workshops in Birmingham to raise awareness of sexual exploitation through their Phoenix Project . For further information email: email@example.com|
|The Sheila McKechnie Foundatio n (www.smk.org.uk) is running a series of one-day introductory level campaign workshops throughout the UK. The first two will be held in Birmingham and Gloucester .|
Participants will already be involved at a basic level of campaigning or just about to get started - whether you are challenging local authority social care changes or protesting about climate change - if you want information and advice about the next steps, then this campaign workshop is for you. These workshops are heavily subsidised but participants are required to pay a small fee of £10 to attend.
Birmingham (22 March 2013)
Gloucester (19 April 2013)
|To find out about other events listed on theMWNUK website|