Post People: Empowering Asian women in Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 February 2017
Woman of the year Nusrat Zamir, 37, tells Sebastian Murphy-Bates how she helps fight sexism in the Asian community ahead of Monday’s nominations deadline for the Women’s Empowerment Awards
“It’s important women realise politics isn’t another world and that we recognise their achievements.
“When I won Woman of the Year and Woman of Courage at the Women’s Empowerment Awards in April last year, that was the first time I’d won anything. It created inspiration for a lot of Asian women who have always been told they’re not good enough.
“I won the awards for my work at the Chadwell Heath Asian Women’s Network, which I founded to give people a chance to get together, make new friends and seek advice in a hand-holding service to help our sisters.
“We encourage women to step out of their comfort zones by going to social groups and exploring online courses that allow you to study at your own pace and offer an alternative to a monotonous existence.
“We also hold quarterly celebration evenings and organise trips to Parliament, which is important because our community has always been a patriarchy in which women have been sidelined.
“I’d like to see more women coming forward and being aware. I’m trying to change the thinking because this isn’t just a man’s world. A lot of our Asian woman asked what the point in voting is because they don’t work. But governments can change child benefits and tax credits, which affects stay-at-home mums and their families. Now they understand that they have a say and they’re more likely to be involved whereas before they didn’t even know the different political parties.
“It’s important women don’t just sit on their hands so they can pass that knowledge onto their children so we have a politically aware generation.
“And recognising our achievements motivates people, which is why it’s important we have the whole of March in Barking and Dagenham set aside at Women’s Empowerment Month.
“It’s the only London borough that does this and it makes me really proud to be a part of Barking and Dagenham.”
You can nominate inspirational women for various categories in next month’s Women’s Empowerment Awards here