Britain's most powerful Muslim woman named

Conservative Peer Baroness Warsi named as Britain's most powerful Muslim Woman

25 March 2009

Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, has been named as Britain's most powerful Muslim woman.

Other prominent Muslim women named in the top five of the Power list include Farmida Bi, a banking Partner for Norton Rose LLP; Professor Farida Fortune CBE, Dean of Dentistry and Oral Health at Queen Mary's School of Medicine; Wasfi Kani, Chief Executive, Grange Park Opera; and Mishal Hussain, a leading journalist and news presenter(read the full list below).

The Power List was revealed on Tuesday evening at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester and was judged by Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; the Baroness Hogg, Chairman of 3i; Sara Friend, Legal Director, British Olympic Association; Sarah Joseph, Editor of Emel magazine; Michael Binyon, Diplomatic Editor and Leader Writer for The Times; and Abi Amosu, EMEA Head of Corporate Diversity, J.P. Morgan.

Paying tribute to the achievements of the successful women, Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission, said:

'I would like to congratulate Sayeeda Warsi and the other women who have been shortlisted for our inaugural Muslim Women Power List. The Power List was established to celebrate the achievements of Muslim women from across the business, arts, media, voluntary and public sectors, highlighting leaders in these fields and high performers whose successes suggest they are destined for great things.

Our list of female Muslim high achievers challenges many stereotypes, celebrating some truly impressive individuals. This list is just the start of a more ambitious project to create a network of women defined by their professional capabilities and interests, where faith and their background may just be one part of who they are.'

Having been named as Britain's most powerful Muslim Woman, Baroness Warsi, said:

'I personally come from a family of all girls and was brought up to believe that anything was possible and being a Muslim woman should in no way be seen as a barrier but as an asset to achievement.

'I'm extremely proud to be named as the most powerful British Muslim woman and I'm sure my Pakistani origins, my strong faith, and my Yorkshire upbringing has played a huge part.
Of course I've encountered prejudice as a woman, and as a Muslim woman. One of the most specific forms of prejudice is journalists who ask, "Are you a Muslim first or British first?", as if to say the two can't be reconciled. I think Islam is a hugely liberating religion for women. When Islam is interpreted properly, it is a religion that supports and reveres women. Unfortunately, I don't necessarily think that's always the way that some sectors of the Muslim community interprets it.'

- Ends -

Find out more about how the Power List came about, and what it means to women from the list

Visit the Muslim Women Power List 2009 website

Notes to Editors

Muslim Women Power List 2009

The list was chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The judges were asked to select women who had demonstrated significant results through strong leadership, successful performance in their chosen career and inspired their colleagues and peers.

The list is divided into sections. The women are not all individually ranked as the judge's considered a numeric listing would not be valid but they did want to acknowledge the particular achievements of certain women so the list is divided as follows. One woman is singled out to head the list. She forms the top five alongside four of her peers. The top five sit within a top twenty. Within the rankings the women are ordered alphabetically and not according to the judges selection.

1 Baroness Sayeeda Warsi - Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, Life Peer

2-5 (listed alphabetically)

  • Farmida Bi - Banking Partner, Norton Rose LLP
  • Professor Farida Fortune CBE - Dean for Dentistry and Oral Health, Queen Mary's School of Medicine
  • Mishal Husain - BBC News Presenter
  • Wasfi Kani OBE - Chief Executive, Grange Park Opera

6 - 20 (listed alphabetically)

  • Baroness Haleh Afshar OBE AcSS, BA, PhD - Professor of Politics and Women's Studies, York University, and Life Peer
  • Dr Gulnur Aybet - Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, and Senior Associate Member of St Anthony's College, Oxford University
  • Farzana Hakim - Director, Faz Hakim Ltd
  • Sabina Iqbal - Chair and Founder, Deaf Parenting UK
  • Haifa Al Kaylani MA - Founder and Chairman, Arab International Women's Forum
  • Imtaz Khaliq - Bespoke tailor
  • Pinky Lilani OBE - Entrepreneur, diversity specialist and cookery writer
  • Dr Zahida Manzoor CBE - Legal Services Complaints Commissioner and Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales
  • Shazia Mirza Bsc (Hons) PGCE - Comedian and Columnist, The New Statesman
  • Dr Shehla Mohammed - Consultant Clinical Geneticist and Head of Service, Guys and St Thomas' Hospital
  • Bushra Nasir CBE BSc (Hons) - Head Teacher, Plashet Comprehensive School for Girls
  • Ifath Nawaz - Lawyer / President of The Association Of Muslim Lawyers (UK)
  • Dr Robina Shah - Chair, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
  • Miss Soheir Elneil PhD MRCOG - Consultant Urogynaecologist, University College Hospital
  • Councillor Salma Yaqoob - Leader of Respect

21+ (listed alphabetically)

  • Zareen Ahmed - Chief Executive, The Lightbox Consultancy
  • Rimla Akhtar BSc (Hons) ARCS CA - Chair, Muslim Women Sport Foundation
  • Rushanara Ali - Associate Director, The Young Foundation
  • Yasmin Alibhai Brown MPhil (Oxon) - Journalist and author
  • Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE - Community activist and Director, Mather-Excel
  • Riazat Butt - Religious Affairs Correspondent, The Guardian
  • Dr Reefat Drabu - General Practitioner, Assistant Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain
  • Reedah El-Saie - Director,
  • Baroness Faulkner - Justice Spokesperson, Liberal Democrats and Life Peer
  • Shaista Gohir MBE - Director, Muslim Voice UK and Muslim Women's Network UK
  • Shahbaz Hamid FIA - Principal Actuary, Client Relationship Director - Scotland, Aon Consulting
  • Prof. Roszaini Haniffa - Head of Accounting and Finance Group, University of Bradford School of Management and Joint Editor for the Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research
  • Dr Fatima Husain - Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Heatherwood and Wrexham Park NHS Trust
  • Razia Iqbal - Arts Correspondent, BBC News
  • Shelina Janmohamed - Author, 'Love in a Headscarf'
  • Sara Khan - Principal Director, Inspire
  • Hawa Bibi Laher - Head Teacher, Spring Grove Junior Infant and Nursery School
  • Nahid Majid OBE - Deputy Director of Initiatives and Communities, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Adeeba Malik MBE - Deputy Chief Executive, QED-UK, Co-Chair, National Ethnic Minorities Business Taskforce
  • Aiysha Malik Vice President - Employee Relations, Deutsche Bank
  • Naseem Malik IPCC Commissioner & Judge of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
  • Mehmuda Mian BBC Trustee, Associate Director Lokahi Foundation, Non-executive Director Independent Safeguarding Authority
  • Dr Yasmin Naqushbandi MBChB; DCH; FRCPath:FRCP - Medical Director, Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust
  • Yvonne Ridley - Journalist, broadcaster and author, Press TV
  • Fatiha Serour - Director, Commonwealth Youth Programme, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Julie Siddiqui - Vice-President, Islamic Society of Britain
  • Baroness Uddin - Chair of the Government's Task Force, championing minority women's participation in public life and Life Peer.

For more information, please contact:

Alex Brod
07912 477760

Priti Patel
07894 485 213