Muslim and ethnic minority women could be put off a career in politics after ex-Conservative minister Nusrat Ghani claimed she was fired due to her faith, campaigners have warned.
Muslim Women’s Network UK says the Islamophobia scandal in Westminster highlights the additional barriers Muslim women face and could be hugely damaging in the fight for equality.
“Nus Ghani’s experiences may cause some ethnic minority women to reconsider whether they want to stand as candidates in local council and general elections in the first place, which is very detrimental for those of us striving for equality and social justice,” Dr Iram Sattar, co-chair of Muslim Women’s Network UK told The Big Issue.
“It is a reminder that women should not just be encouraged to get into politics (or indeed any other workplace) but also be supported to stay there once they are successful.”
Nusrat Ghani was fired from her job as transport minister in February 2020 and told The Sunday Times that this was due to her Muslim faith. She alleges that the chief whip, who later identified himself as Mark Spencer, said that her “Muslimness” was the reason for the reshuffle, and that her status as a “Muslim woman minister” was making Conservative colleagues uncomfortable.
A recent report from women’s equality charity, The Fawcett Society, found that the proportion of female MPs In Westminster increased by just two per cent between the 2017 and 2019 elections, and that women of colour are missing entirely from the highest roles in sectors across society.