Shaista was appointed to the House of Lords as a non-party-political peer in 2022. She was selected by the House of Lords Appointments Commission following an independent competitive process and recommended to the Prime Minster. Prior to her appointment Shaista’s work on social justice had already been recognised through the OBE in 2016 and MBE in 2008.
Shaista has worked in the charity sector for nearly twenty years, is a leading women's rights campaigner and recognised as one of the most influential Muslim women in Britain. Shaista first joined Muslim Women's Network in 2005 when it was an advisory group to government. She then became one of the founding members who established it as an independent organisation in 2008 and renamed it Muslim Women's Network UK (MWNUK). She has led its growth since, serving as the Executive Director, Chair and currently CEO, building MWNUK to become a highly respected national award-winning charity.
Projects that Shaista has set up and led at the Muslim Women's Network UK has included its national MWN Helpline and Counselling service, its membership portal, MWN Hub and the domestic abuse app, Amal, to be launched in 2023. She has also conducted research and her reports have included: Maternity Experiences of Muslim Women from Racialised Minority Communities (2022); Muslim Women's Experience of the Criminal Justice System (2019); Female Genital Mutilation - Affected Communities in Birmingham (2016); Muslim Marriage and Divorce in Britain (2016); and Unheard Voice (Sexual Exploitation of Young Asian women and girls (2013).
Shaista has also been a member of numerous government and public bodies, third sector and international advisory groups, to share insights into the experiences of women and girls from racialised minority communities in Britain. Her interest in women’s health led to her serving as a NED at the University Hospital North Midlands NHS Trust. She was also the Women's Voices Lead at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, where she ensured that women's experiences informed policy and practice to improve women's healthcare. Her passion for social justice led to her to also founding a new charity in 2021, the Nisa Global Foundation, which will help women and girls in developing countries.