First launched as a pilot in 2018-19 with the support of Islamic Relief, and run again in 2019-20, the Women in Mosques Development Programme (WIMDP) is designed to accelerate the development of upcoming female leaders to become the mosque trustees, committee members and centre managers of the future.
Each year 20 upcoming female leaders have benefited from the bespoke training sessions offered by the programme, joining from across the UK, including Manchester, Lancashire, Yorkshire, London & the South East, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gloucester, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Belfast and more! Following the programme, participants are offered mentoring opportunities to further their learning.
Photos from 2018-19 and 2019-20
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the point of this programme?
The Women in Mosques Development Programme is designed to provide mosque-specific training and mentoring to a cohort of high-potential upcoming female leaders, to support them in becoming the female trustees, committee members and project officers of their local mosques.
2. How many of these women will actually get roles within mosques?
Many of the women are already involved in their local mosque in some capacity and wish to raise their experience and skill level, or are involved in running community projects that are hosted at a mosque. For those who are not, by pairing the mentees on the programme with a mentor – who is an existing mosque committee member of trustee (male or female) – as well as via experienced mosque leaders delivering the training sessions, the programme aims to build organic networks and relationships to support mentees access more roles within the mosque sector. The alumni from the programme will be tracked and further help provided to aid their development and support them into these roles in future.
3. Isn’t the real issue that a lot of mosques are run by men who don’t want women involved or attending? What are you doing about them?
There is significant gender-bias in many mosques in the UK, resulting in the lack of space or participation of women in those mosque. This is a serious issue that is limiting the growth and development of Muslim communities in the UK, aside from being an injustice to female worshippers, compared to male worshippers who can access the services provided by those mosques more easily.
We believe the most effective way to ensure a mosque is accessible to women is to have women involved in the organisation’s management team or board. This programme aims to develop talented female leaders who can serve in these management roles effectively (and not just being placed on the management boards as a token/tick-box exercise), as well as making a strong public statement that a 100% male-only management board is not an acceptable status quo for a Muslim-led organisation, or indeed any organisation, that claims to serve the whole community.
4. What are you only training women? Don’t men also need training on how to run mosques better?
The overall UK mosque sector is in urgent need of more training and professional development for mosque volunteers and staff, to support them in running their organisations more effectively. This is why the MCB hosts Our Mosques Our Future conferences , most recently on the theme #OurYouthOurFuture, as well as launching a beta Mosque Resource Portal in 2018, and we continue to support other initiatives by our member organisations that support the capacity building of mosques leaders and volunteers.
As the lack of female participation in management is an acute problem, this programme prioritises the training and development of female leaders. However the programme is constantly under review and an improved version targeted at both male and female upcoming leaders is being considered for the near future.
|BBC Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola – Are Women’s Roles Changing Within Islam? – https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06n6d5p|
|BBC 4 Woman’s Hour – Do British Mosques need more women in leadership roles? – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n1l6f
|The Guardian – Muslim Council of Britain to train women to run mosques –
|The Economist – Young Muslims challenge the old guard at Britain’s mosques –
|Huffington Post – Meet The Trailblazing Women Training To Be The UK’s First Female Mosque Leaders –
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