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.
Sara Hyde, 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. FWN is typified by service, solidarity and sisterhood.
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.”
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 Aziz, Co-Vice Chair
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.
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.”