Shaista is a leading Muslim women’s rights activist in Britain and now the Chair of Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK). Prior to joining the MWNUK (www.mwnuk.co.uk) board in 2011, she joined MWNUK in 2005 when it was an informal group, becoming the Executive Director in 2007 /08. Shaista transformed a small informal group of Muslim women into the leading national Muslim women’s charity in Britain.
In 2013, Shaista was the lead researcher on grounding breaking research investigating sexual exploitation of Asian girls and young women in Britain and authored the report, Unheard Voices. In 2015, Shaista set up the Muslim Women’s Network Helpline (www.mwnhelpline.co.uk), a national faith and culturally sensitive helpline. In 2016 she wrote two further important reports:’Female Genital Mutilation – Affected Communities in Birmingham’ and also ‘Information and Guidance on Muslim Marriage and Divorce in Britain.’
Shaista also runs her own consultancy SNG Consultancy providing training workshops, research and advise on gender related issues such as forced marriage, sexual explaitation, female genital mutilation, domestic violence (www.sngconsultancy.com).Shaista has also worked in international campaigning and advocacy roles at Oxfam and Save the Children. Shaista is also a member of the International Advisory Group (the highest decision making committee) for Musawah (www.musawah.org) “ a global Muslim women’s movement, which has advocates from across the world.
As a leading Muslim women’s rights activist in Britain, Shaista has been featured in national newspapers, The Times (March 2011) and The Guardian (January 2015). She regularly contributes to mainstream, international and niche broadcast and print media with comments and written articles. These have included: Times, Guardian, Independent, Huffington, BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera & CNN. Shaista also speaks at events locally, nationally and internationally, which includes presenting at the United Nations Human Rights Forum to speak on the human rights of minority women.
In recognition of her work, she was awarded the OBE honour in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2016 and the MBE in 2008. In 2009, Shaista was included in the Muslim Women Power list, which named the most influential Muslim women in Britain. In the same year she also won the Asian Woman of Achievement Award in the Social and Humanitarian Category.