To share knowledge, experience, best practice and opinions among Muslim women and those working with them in order to strengthen Muslim women’s ability to exercise their rights, challenge unjust attitudes and bring about effective changes.
To bring Muslim women’s diverse voices to policy influencers and makers and to gather information relevant to Muslim women’s lives in order to ensure local and national policy meets our varied needs.
To raise the profile of individual Muslim women and support organisations by highlighting their achievements and showcasing diverse role models.
What do we do?
Develop information packages to support the work of Muslim women's organisations.
Build Muslim women's capacity to advocate for their rights.
Answer information requests from individuals and organisations.
Research and collate information regarding issues of concern to Muslim women.
Elicit Muslim women's views and respond to Government consultations.
Pro-actively raise Muslim women's key concerns on topical issues through the media.
Network nationally with other women's groups, and internationally with women's movements in other Muslim contexts.
What are the MWN-UK’s mission, vision and values?
A UK network of women and men to share knowledge, connect the voices, and promote the needs of diverse Muslim women.
Our vision is of a society where Muslim women can have an effective voice and the opportunity to exercise their rights to contribute equally.
MWN-UK works within a framework of human rights, justice and Islamic feminism. We aim to be member focused, inclusive and accountable in all that we do. We are committed to gender equality and value diversity. We are independent from all established political, governmental and religious institutions. We recognise that networks provide a mechanism for sharing knowledge, raising the profile of individuals, organisations and issues, and influencing policy and attitudes, and for building a critical mass of voices.
Who are members of MWN-UK?
MWN-UK has over 600 members who are diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, religious backgrounds, lifestyles, sexual orientation and geographic location.
Members are mainly Muslim women living and working in the UK.
Our members include non-Muslims working with Muslim women and men. They are academics and students; voluntary sector and support services workers; health and legal professionals; experts in women’s rights, diversity policy, disability and asylum; law enforcement officers and local government officials.
Members also include individuals or organisations working with Muslim women around the UK. Each of our members are connected to other networks and audiences, thus multiplying our reach to thousands of women.
We will continue to identify those sectors of the Muslim community who are under-represented in the network and encourage them to join.
Everyone is welcome so become a member and add to our rich diversity.
What are the activities of MWN-UK?
One of our first activities was, with the collaboration of the Women's National Commission, to ask Muslim women about their needs. This 'listening exercise' was published as theShe Who Disputes report which identified both the existing space for and unjust barriers to Muslim women's full participation in society. This analysis remains the main inspiration for our work, in addition to the ongoing interaction of our members and with women in the community. Our work is about changing the foundations of Muslim women's lives and not just improving services.
MWNUK, is not primarily about service delivery - much of what we do is not visible and not easily measured as it is more 'behind the scenes' type of work. However, the work is very valuable. Examples, include: developing the marriage contract (in collaboration with other organisations); getting Muslim women's voices into the media by responding to media requests and putting them in touch with appropriate Muslim women; recommending Muslim women for committees / boards for statutory and other bodies; signposting people to the right serivces; influencing policies / decisions by public bodies etc.
Recently, MWNUK launched the Muslim Women's Network Helpline (www.mwnhelpline.co.uk) - a national specialist faith and culturally sensitive service. Please contact us if you are in a crisis situation and need immediate help or just want information about your rights and the help or support that is available.
Our key priorities are currently:
1)Sharing understandings of gender in Islam from a human rights perspective.
2)Sharing knowledge of gender equality in UK family laws, marriage and divorce
3)Changing attitudes to abuse against women and girls
4)Changing attitudes to mental health
5)Changing attitudes to women’s leadership
6)Supporting actions to address Islamophobia and discrimination
How is MWN-UK funded?
The MWN-UK has raised funds from independent charitable sources and public funds. It has one part-time staff who take responsibility for our activities. Its board members provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis.
Currently, our core funder is the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. And other individual projects are funded by different funders. For example, the Muslim Women's Network Helpline is funded by the Henry Smith Charity and the Big Lottery Fund.
Why is MWN-UK needed?
We need Muslim women’s voices in decision making processes affecting Muslim women, the Muslim community as a whole and as citizens of wider society.
We need a collective voice to raise questions that we all want to address and policies that we would like to see in place.
We need to ensure the Government and the Muslim community recognises the fantastic work being done at grass roots level by many Muslim women’s organisations.
We need to share across the country and across sectors the many excellent examples of good practice in projects that are already up and running.
We need to end the isolation of Muslim women’s groups from other similar organisations. Collectively these groups can make a greater impact in their communities and nationally.
We need a forum which allows the gathering of information from or dissemination of information to Muslim women’s groups collectively across the UK
Why join MWN-UK – and how will I benefit?
You will be invited to participate in MWN-UK workshops and meetings.
You will be consulted on your views on issues that not only affect Muslim women but the Muslim community as a whole which can then be forward to Government.
You can share knowledge, skills and good practice with Muslim women’s groups across the UK.
You will be kept informed of events and activities relevant to your work with Muslim women.
You will be invited to attend MWN-UK’s Annual General Meeting at which you can help shape the MWN-UK’s priorities and its institutional development.
In the long run MWN-UK aspires to collaborate with a broad range of groups that share our vision.– this will provide the opportunity for Muslim women’s groups to make links with such organisations to pursue goals that are common across the board.
Lastly, you will be a part of a country-wide network that provides its members encouragement and support in their work, and friends you never knew you could reach!
Join MWN-UK and help create a critical mass of voices that cannot be ignored either by our communities or by policy and decision makers.