Seema Malhotra, president
Seema is MP for Feltham and Heston and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. A former management consultant by profession, with over ten years experience with leading consultancies Accenture and PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Seema is also a campaigner on equality issues, community activist and was the first Asian Chair of the Fabian Society. She is the founder and Director of the Fabian Women’s Network.
She graduated from Warwick University in Politics and Philosophy, with a year spent on scholarship to the USA. She has been a consultant to several government departments and local authorities on public service reform issues, including reform of the civil/criminal justice systems and public advice services. She is a former Chair, Young Fabians, and speaks widely at local societies. Seema has been a candidate in local government and London Assembly elections. She is a contributor to news and radio discussions, and is a regular writer for political magazines.
Ivana Bartoletti, chair
Ivana is chair of the Fabian Women’s Network and sits on the Fabian Society Executive Committee. In her day job, Ivana heads up the privacy & data protection practice at Gemserv. She is passionate about privacy, new technologies and the Internet of Things and has worked at senior level in both the public and private sector.
“I have stood as an MEP and, in 2016, I worked alongside Sadiq Khan as the assembly candidate in Havering and Redbridge, where I reduced the Tory majority to less than 1%. Before moving to Britain in 2007, I was involved in European politics and worked as an adviser to the Romano Prodi government in Italy. I am firmly pro-European and a committed internationalist. I campaign for Britain to – at the very least – remain in the single market, and am concerned about the irreversible damage to the economy as well as the increase of intolerance and hate crime.
Now more than ever, I believe that we need feminism to help define and shape a new politics, and the role of the FWN is to produce the ideas the world needs, and to ensure there are more women in parliament to deliver them – be it on the economy, foreign policy or industrial strategies.”
Sara Hyde, vice-chair
Sara has spent almost a decade working in the criminal justice system, primarily with women, following a first career in theatre. She worked in both HMP Holloway, then with women post-release as a frontline mentor and group facilitator, latterly managing holistic support services for women. She currently leads on Deaths in Custody for the NHSE London Clinical Network for Health in Justice. Originally a grassroots community and feminist campaigner, she has been involved in the community on Caledonian Road (behind King’s Cross) for the last 14 years and is a council candidate for Caledonian ward, Islington in May 2018. She co-faciliatated 2017 CotL mentoring scheme. Sara was a Labour List candidate for the London Assembly in 2016 and the Labour PPC in Bromley & Chislehurst in the 2017 General Election. She was part of the inaugural Jo Cox Women in Leadership cohort.
“FWN was essential in helping me make the transition from activism to structural politics and I want to ensure it continues to enable more women and more diverse women to do the same. I want to maintain the network as a space of welcome and of rigorous, comradely debate about the best policy ideas. A network that connects and elevates the voice of women in political and public life, where we champion our sisters and help others realise their full potential.
I love to think, think, think about how to make our justice system more just and the interconnected issues that raises: violence against women and girls; homelessness; addiction; mental health. About how to hear from the voices of those with lived experience when devising policy or practice. About the role of the arts in social change. About how to be a good sister and intersectional feminist. About finding solutions with others, rooted in community and group. Passionate about Kate Bush. Please get in touch!”
Sara’s We Need to Talk About Prison TEDx talk
Jos Bell, secretary
Jos is a researcher, writer and campaigner on health, equality and the environment. She previously worked on evaluation and implementation of family friendly policy, including tax credits, childcare and Sure Start. Jos has been on the FWN Exec for the past two years, leading on health and wellbeing and latterly also editing Fabiana. She is also Chair of the London branch of the Socialist Health Association and sits on the Labour Socialist Societies Exec.
“I have always been driven by an innate belief in equality and social justice. I find it impossible to find any justification for increasing inequality and disadvantage. in these fast changing times when logic and facts are being so often denied, we must share knowledge, evidence and experience to counter the mythmakers – for only through innovative best practice can we promote shared understanding and demonstrate how equality principles work for the greater good.”
Paulina Jakubec, treasurer
Paulina has served on the committee for over four years in her capacity as the National Secretary and Public Speaking Club Coordinator. During this time, she led on the launch of the FWN Women’s Rights Charter, the Brexit and the women in the economy policy series. Paulina is also a former National Secretary of the Young Fabians and a proud alumni of the FWN mentoring scheme.
Paulina currently works at the Financial Conduct Authority and previously worked as a lobbyist. During this time she advised many clients who represent household name companies in the UK and abroad. Paulina also has a background in international development, with a particular focus on humanitarian affairs and sexual violence against women and girls. She led advocacy campaigns at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom at the UN in New York and worked as a Humanitarian Affairs Policy Officer at the UK Mission to the UN in Geneva. She holds an MSc in International Development and Gender from the London School of Economics.
“I am extremely passionate about supporting women looking to enter politics and public life. I believe in the power of networks and providing platforms to amplify women’s voices in otherwise male dominated environments. The strength of the FWN lies in the connections we build and the support we provide to one another on our respective leadership journeys, and I am proud to be part of a collective of inspiring women striving to bring about positive change.”
Sheila is a finance lawyer, a Labour council candidate in Islington, an independent monitor at a London prison and a school governor. She is also an alumni of both the Fabian Women’s Network mentoring scheme and the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme. Both schemes provided Sheila with an incredible nationwide sisterhood of inspiring, diverse women.
“I see being in the FWN as an opportunity to engage in thoughtful and in depth political discussion with women who share the same values: a place where we can express different views and challenge one another in a respectful and safe environment.
Areas I’m particularly interested in include criminal justice reform – what policies can we come up with and advocate that will make incarceration a last resort – and an effective one? I am also working with a friend I met through FWN to gather women’s testimonies of midlife and menopause to turn into a live show! As a working mum with three young children and an aging parent, this project is close to my heart and I’d love to hear from anyone interested in sharing their stories.”
Amna is a community psychologist who is currently working as the national lead on children and young people for a leading national domestic violence charity in the UK. She has spent last 10 years working with women and children within the voluntary sector for a range of organisations. This included teaching English as a second language, supporting people seeking employment or training, working with schools, delivering workshops on social enterprise and more.
“My postgraduate studies explored women’s role during and after the revolutions in North Africa, exploring female agency, empowerment, and social action with my paper titled, ‘The voice of women in the Arab Spring’, published in the Journal of Social Science Education.
I am the co founder of Intersectional Feminist Foreign Policy because I believe that we need to be doing politics differently, and this includes our foreign policy, that needs to bring forward the voices of women, particularly marginalised women who otherwise would not be heard, and seek localised solution that empower and protect women and girls.
We have the power to create that change when we work together.”
Shaista is a freelance journalist and writer specialising on identity, race, gender and Muslim women and a equalities campaigner. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Globe and Mail, New York Times, BBC and Huffington Post.
She’s a broadcaster and political commentator and the founder of The Everyday Bigotry Project seeking to disrupt narratives around race, Islamophobia and bigotry. She’s a former Oxfam and MSF aid worker and has spent more than fifteen years working across the Middle East, East and West Africa and across Pakistan with marginalised women impacted by conflict and emergencies.
She’s the co founder of the Women’s Advancement Hub, WAH, Pakistan, a platform that amplifies the voices and stories of marginalised Pakistani women. Shaista is the co founder of Intersectional Feminist Foreign Policy seeking to influence the creation of an ethical feminist foreign policy that does no further harm to women and girls and that brings the voices, lived experiences and expertise of women excluded from policy discussions based on their intersectional identities.
Reema is an experienced public policy professional with expertise in engagement and participation and has led the RSA’s Citizens Economic Council programme for two years. She also works on the RSA’s Ethics and AI programme, which is part of Google Deepmind’s Ethics and Society research collaboration. Prior to her role at the RSA, she worked for democracy and participation thinktank Involve.
Reema is a local Labour councillor in Barnet, formerly National Secretary of FWN and was recently elected onto the Fabian Society executive committee for a second term. Outside of politics and policy, she enjoys running, hiking and cooking.
Seyi is Labour Councillor in Newham, facilitator in the Middle East and North Africa Region and Founder of Glitch!UK, an online abuse campaigning and training organisation. She is also also a graduate from the London School of Economics and the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme.
“With increasing power being devolved to local government who are trying their best to mitigate the consequences of unprecedented central government budget cuts, I see a place for FWN. FWN can provide support to councils with innovative research, fresh ideas and the development of compelling policies for urban areas, policies that respond to new challenges and needs.
I’m particularly interested in intersectional feminism and will ensure our safe spaces are inclusive and our events are diverse and intersectional. I would also like to see how we can support the calls and campaigns to address all forms of Online Violence Against Women. If these topics are of interest to you I’d love to hear from you.”
Christine Megson, mentoring programme coordinator
Christine is a consultant working across public services particularly focusing on education, leadership and change management. A former FE College Principal and consultant at Sheffield Hallam Business School, Christine has been using her skills to set up and coordinate the FWN mentoring programme over the past 7 years. She has recently been elected as a Vice President of the Fabian Society.
“Nearly 200 women from all over the UK have been through the mentoring programme and they come from very different backgrounds with different expertise and different views and perspectives. What I really appreciate is that they all share Fabian values and provide huge support and challenge for each other. I am delighted that the programme is not just having an impact on these women but that the roles they are taking on- both paid and voluntary –are reaching out wide and having an impact on thousands more.
Alongside the exec, I would like to see FWN create an even greater contribution to the Fabian Society so we can hear more women’s voices and promote more women’s ideas. There’s so many opportunities to chair and speak on panels or contribute to publications and I’m going to encourage more of you to put yourselves forward.”