Headlines: March 10th, 2009

A project has been launched to get more Muslim Women’ involved in public life. ‘Play Your Part – Make Your Mark’ has been set up by the Muslim Women’s Advisory Group which says there at least 800,000 Muslim women living in Britain but they are under-represented in positions of influence.

The Group is aiming to provide support to help Muslim women to increase their skills, knowledge, and confidence to enable more of them to seek positions in civic society and public office. The project will work with women who are already starting to get involved in public life offering extra support so they can progress as far as possible. It will also involve women who want to put themselves forward in the public sphere but have not yet done so.

Reedah Al-Saie, a member of the Advisory Group said the project would encourage, highlight and celebrate the contribution that Muslim women are making to Britain. She added, “We aim to nurture the skills, talents and confidence of women on the programme and make progressive change by enhancing their networks within, and appointing mentors from, mainstream civic and political life in order to ensure more MPs, councillors, magistrates, schools governors and public appointments are secured.”

Women taking part in the project will spend a residential weekend at a leading university focusing on developing networking and communication skills and giving them the opportunity to meet a range of existing mentors and role models. There will then be one-day follow up sessions. The first will look at the finer skills of power and influence, pace and timing, leadership and teamwork, adapting to new environments, knowing your strengths, broadening your vision, courage and caution and preparing to lead change. The second day will develop negotiation and debating skills.