A Government body set up to empower Muslim women has been dismissed by one of its founders as a "tick box exercise" after she quit in protest at the slow progress it was making.One might venture that a good way of keeping mouthy chicks like Gohir quiet and sidelined is to stick 'em on an "advisory group" (not that it's had that effect on her).
Shaista Gohir, a respected Muslim activist from Birmingham, was one of 19 prominent women who sat on the National Muslim Women's Advisory Group (NMWAG). But she left the group this week, accusing the body of being a "political fad" that had failed to help Muslim women in the way ministers promised.
During its launch in January 2008, NMWAG was trumpeted by Gordon Brown as key component of the Government's anti-extremism strategy, known as Prevent, and that it would help build a "stronger, better society".
But in a resignation letter sent yesterday, Ms Gohir detailed why she felt compelled to quit, accusing the body of failing to empower Muslim women and becoming sidetracked by "managing projects".
She also accused the group of deliberately increasing its output in the run-up the elections due to fears that "a new government may disband NMWAG due to its lack of impact".
"This has resulted in a sudden interest to ensure NMWAG is more visible and active," she wrote in the resignation letter. "I feel extremely uncomfortable about the timing of this renewed interest to empower Muslim women. I believe that this gives the perception that the group has suddenly become active to save itself rather than for the genuine empowerment of Muslim women which is a task that has to take place irrespective of elections or any change in government."...
Friday, April 9, 2010
The Bureaucratic Imperative
Once a government bureaucracy has been set up, whatever its raison d'etre was at the outset, it can end up taking a back seat to what the body comes to see as its most crucial task--ensuring its own survival. Such is the case, to a large extent, with our own mushrooming HRCs. And it's definitely what's afoot with the National Muslim Women's Advisory Group (NMWAG), a body set up by the British government to help empower Muslim women, as the Independent reports: