Join us as we celebrate Women’s History Month by discussing the role of women in faith. We have four inspirational women sharing the experiences on our panel – Reverend Canon Councillor Ann Easter (Newham Council), Chetna Ghandi (Vicarage Primary School), Abida Islam (Apprentice), Julie Siddiqi (Thrive Together) and Bharti Tailor (RG Enterprises).
Light refreshments available.
The Reverend Canon Councillor Ann Easter has lived and worked in Newham all her life; she felt called to be a priest when she was about 7 years old and has worked for the Church of England since 1980, mostly as a worker priest, combining church work with managing voluntary sector projects. Ann was the first female Area Dean in the diocese and was honoured as a Canon of the Cathedral in 2000. No-one was more surprised than Ann when she was asked to be a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen. Ann was elected to Newham Council in 2014 and was appointed Commissioner for InterFaith Dialogue in 2019.
Chetna Ghandi, Vicarage Primary School. Chetna has been in the teaching profession since 2004 and during this time she had the opportunity to be an RE Co-ordinator. This position was most interesting and put her in a position to organise events such as Junior SACRE and Places of Worship weeks. She was also very fortunate to work with other teachers from Newham in recreating the new RE syllabus. She is current the Well-being Co-ordinator at Vicarage Primary School. Developing the knowledge her colleagues had in regard to Hinduism was extremely important and so she held team teaching sessions, and also branched out to other schools in the borough, to help other teachers become more well-versed and answer and clarify any components of the religion they did not understand. Similarly, her position as an active member of Newham SACRE, represented through the Teacher and Hindu panel, also helps her do this and spread more awareness. Her passion for learning about religion extends not only in her work life, but also her personal life. She is an active volunteer at the Hindu Sanatan Mandir in Leytonstone, where she has been fortunate to represent the temple by participating in various activities organised by the Borough of Waltham Forest and women’s group.
Abida Islam, Apprentice. Being raised with a strong work ethic and a passion for learning, Abida seeks opportunities to learn outside of the four walls of a classroom, be that through an apprenticeship or in a seminary. Her aspirations for the future are ground in being in the service of others by inspiring reform in the education system from within, for service for the sake of others is the biggest learning experience. This servitude and sense of humanity is a core element of her faith and combined with her plans in Higher Education, she hopes that she can shape generations to come.
Julie Siddiqi, Director, Thrive Together. Julie is a mentor, consultant and gender equality campaigner with a specific focus on interfaith relations and social action work. She has a background in community grassroots work spanning 25 years including founding a local charity for Muslim women. Julie was a member of the Government’s National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group, is a Governor at Eden Girls’ School in Slough and was previously listed in the Times newspaper’s 100 Most Influential Muslim Women in the UK. She is a regular voice on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and is Founder and Director of Sadaqa Day, a one-day Muslim-led focus on social action. Julie is Co-founder of the Jewish and Muslim Women’s Network, Nisa-Nashim and is also Co-founder of Open My Mosque, a campaign to highlight and speak out about inequalities in UK mosques.
Bharti Tailor, RG Enterprises. Bharti Tailor has previously been Secretary of Emeritus Hindu Forum of Britain 2009-2012, President of Emeritus Hindu Forum of Europe 2012-2014, Executive Director of Hindu Forum of Europe and Hindu Forum of Belgium 2014-2019, Emeritus Member RfP European Council of Religious Leaders 2010-2017 and finally, Vice President Religions for Peace UK 2017-2019. She started a voluntary career at her local Hindu Mandir volunteering in a language class and went on to become the Chair of Education and Assistant Secretary of the same Temple. She has entered university as a mature student and went on to gain a BA Honours in Community Management which then propelled her into an international career both voluntarily for her faith and as an Equality and Diversity specialist Consultant.
Booking is preferred but not essential. Tickets can be booked via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-and-faith-discussion-panel-tickets-98043975169
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Newham Women's History Month has lots more to offer, take a look at the full line-up of events