Why this project
Female experiences and stories, in particular those of Muslim women, are all too often reduced, simplified, marginalised. Our stories and narratives are often told by others through their own ideological lens, and frustratingly men will often champion these as their own, hiding implicit racist misogyny.
I’m fed up of hearing about Muslim women in the context of what they do/do not wear; how assimilated they are; the oppression they face; how subjugated they are; have no control; need saving; or are brainwashed into extremist behaviour by the men around them.
I want to platform the stories and experiences of Muslim women, so they can own their narrative, without the cultural filters that often knead these into something else.
An inclusive platform
She Speaks We Hear aims to do just that: simply, hear the voices, and explore the experiences of women from all backgrounds. To simply listen.
My own life story and experience means I am acutely aware of what it is to be silenced because of one’s faith, culture and ethnicity, and gender. Similarly, through my professional experience, I have observed that as a group, Muslim women often have their voices silenced. We face the complex interplay between prejudices arising as a result of our gender, socio-economic status, faith, ethnicity and sexuality, which cause multiple barriers to having our voices meaningfully heard and engaged with.
Sometimes, when Muslim women’s voices are given a platform, it is hijacked by others for their own political or ideological aims, (intentionally or unintentionally), effectively speaking on our behalf, and undermining our agency.
She Speaks We Hear is an online platform for women of any background, to be heard on their terms without being hijacked or silenced by sexism, racism or social disadvantage. Initially this project focuses on women from a Muslim background. However, in due course, I hope to share other experiences too, and welcome women from all backgrounds to get involved. Currently in early development, I am preparing to launch the project sometime during 2015. As the network of contributors grows, I envisage that ideas and opportunities to grow the vision for the project will emerge.
You can contribute in anyway you like, and as little or as much as you want. You can do so anonymously, or use your real name. You can contribute articles of any length on any subject, although 700 words would be ideal in terms of being accessible for as wide a readership as possible. You can submit a perspective, an experience, opinions or analysis, stories or even audio or video.
I won’t edit your submission. The point of this process is to allow your voice to be heard, unadulterated, without the interface of editing.
All that I ask is that, upon confirmation of your submission, you send me your bio (ideally 50 words), twitter handle, link to your personal blog and so on, and you have a one month deadline to submit your first contribution. In return, you will join the She Speaks We Hear network, and have your name added as a contributor.
Sounds good? Then get involved and email firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking froward to platforming diverse women’s stories, experiences and perspectives.
Akeela Ahmed MBE