The work of the MCB in this area looks at improving female access to mosques in Britain and empowering the future female leaders of our mosques today.
One of the conclusions of Citizens UK The Missing Muslims report (2017) was that:
“What is clear is that there is no shortage of talented [Muslim] women who could make a significant contribution both to the UK and to their own community, if some of the barriers standing in their way could be removed.”
One of these barriers internal to Muslim communities is access to the mosque, with “many mosques remain wanting in respect to standards of governance and many are not welcoming to women’s participation at any serious level.”
We aim to work with our mosques and communities to improve female access to prayer spaces and, through facilitating conversation and working together, empower more women through training, mentorship and existing networks to become leaders in our mosques as they already are across so much Muslim civil society today.
The Journey So Far
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.
For further information see the Resources section below.
An online survey entitled “Women’s Perceptions of the Mosque” was run in 2019 by The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. The survey built upon a local study of women in Nottingham run by the An-Nisa Network in 2013-14 and has gathered initial data on this topic. In January 2020:
The #WomeninMosques Conversation Toolkit (see below) was launched to encourage community members (female and male) to hold focus group sessions by 20 April 2020 to discuss the issue and generate practical solutions at a local level.
The data gathered will also be reviewed and used to publish a report with practical recommendations for mosque leadership teams, Muslim community activists and wider Muslim civil society organisations to address the issue and make access better for Muslim women at mosques in Britain today.
Download the Women in Mosques Conversation Toolkit (PDF), here.
Download the Women in Mosques Conversation Toolkit (WORD), here.
Access Online Submission Form for Conversation Outcomes here.
Toolkit Top Tips
Once you’ve found 3-8 people to take part in the conversation (either all female, or male & female), you should:
- Choose A Time: Find a time when people meet already at your local mosque or other venue. This could be for a halaqa, class, a coffee morning, after daily prayers or the jumma prayer. The conservation duration should be circa 60-90 minutes.
- Choose A Venue: Your local mosque is a good location provided you can guarantee a quiet spot without interruption. A coffee shop or public venue or homes can also work, but beware of disruptions. Choose the location based on your attendees preferences.
- Promote: Once you’ve chosen a time and a venue, publicise this among your 3-8 participants and ask them to confirm their attendance.
- On The Day: Appoint one person as chair, whose responsibility it is to ask the questions, run the session, and keep the conversation fair and flowing.
Look out for more activities and events coming soon, including:
- WIMDP 2022 programme – feel free to express your interest below!
- International women’s day activities – see previous celebrations.
How Can You Help?
By supporting this project you can help us make lasting change to our communities. Please donate by clicking here.
- £25 could provide support towards improving female access to mosques in Britain and empowering women through training, mentorship and existing networks to become leaders
- £50 could provide support towards accelerating the development of upcoming female leaders to become mosque trustees, committee members and centre managers of the future.
- £50 could provide up to 20 upcoming female leaders to benefit from bespoke training sessions and development programmes
- £100 could provide support towards capacity building of mosques leaders and volunteers with a key focus on training and development of female leaders
If you are interested in getting involved in the project, please sign up and join the team. The MCB is a volunteer led organization, we need you to make change.
3. Take Part in the Programme
Be the first to hear about the Women in Mosques Development Programme in 2020-21 by registering for MCB email updates here.
For any questions or queries about this #WomenInMosques Conversation Toolkit, please email [email protected]
4. Follow and Share
Follow us and our partners on Social Media, and share our posts. Let’s raise awareness however we can!
- WIMDP FAQs
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.
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.
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.
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.
- WIMDP Media coverage