What is the issue?
Our current economic system allows for prosperity and improved living standards; but it does not share benefits equally across society. There are high levels of inequality and residential segregation that weaken social network ties between members of different social classes and genders within communities. An example of this is how women are more likely to live in poverty than men and these figures increase when looking at Muslim women.
Levels of female unemployment continue to be stubbornly high within the UK’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities – the country’s two largest Muslim-majority ethnic minority groups. This is not good and has a negative impact not only on the local community, but also the national economy.
We have seen how bad policy decisions have had a negative impact on Muslim women, who are already struggling, such as lack of enforcement of the equalities laws, and a lack of union organising /or absence of unions to ensure fair representation. These have contributed to their poverty and limited economic growth; including limiting access to enterprise and employment opportunities.
What will the project try to achieve?
MWC will establish a ‘Think + Do Tank’ that engages Muslim women on their lived experience of poverty, barriers to employment, enterprise and finance, will take them from the margins to the heart of designing better economic systems and policy that benefit them and others in similar situations to them. This includes identifying how and why the existing neoliberal capitalist system is perpetuating inequality towards Muslim women; and to recommend alternative economic systems that would have a material impact on the lived experience of Muslim women.
The ‘Think + Do Tank’ will be a valuable hub for Muslim women to explore new economic approaches and what they could be; whilst presenting existing alternative practices they already have in their communities because of their need to survive outside of an economic system that is not designed for them to thrive in. This will contribute to the long-term ambitious vision of influencing systemic change across economic policy, commercial and political strategies and systems of the UK.
Who might be interested in this project?
Academics, Government Departments, Economists, Policy-makers, Financial sector – banks, insurers, accountants