Women's Economic Empowerment Project
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Training and supporting BME women to develop skills to move towards employment and being work-ready, leading to their financial resilience.

by Bana Gora in Bradford, England, United Kingdom

Muslim Women's Council (MWC) was founded in 2009 by a small group of local Muslim women who had experienced significant barriers to life in the UK as Muslim women. We are a proactive user-led organisation, with an aim to help Muslim women play a fuller and active role in society and the economy. We do this by concurrently: (a) designing solutions with them that address the problems faced by them, and (b) raising awareness and influencing decision-makers to adopt these solutions at scale. As an organisation we are continually evolving as we build knowledge, insight, and connections in response to our beneficiaries’ local and wider needs; and we are becoming recognised as an influential agency for transformative impact. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the use of information and communications technologies being adapted and adopted for ‘working from home’, and there has been a greater acceptance of this type of work. All of which is leading to new equalising of employment opportunities – limiting race, religious, gender, and disability discrimination practices – offering a "location independent" way of working for women. 

Whilst this work is not new, its application to address unemployment amongst BME women is, especially where one of the main barriers to work for them is travelling to a place of work due to domestic circumstances – childcare responsibility and caring for sick/disabled relatives, patriarchal-imposed traditions and gender roles, physical restrictions such as not owning a vehicle/not being able to drive in an area where there is a "public transport vacuum", and other artificial cultural dynamics. 

We are asking for support to deliver a remote telework training programme that will improve the appropriate skills of unemployed BME women that makes them work-ready, and connect them to potential employers globally. This has been developed with BME  women and accounts for their specific needs, and is tailored to the local culture and socio-economic context. 

The programme will offer an online experiential training programme that can be accessed via a computer, tablet, or mobile. So women can train in their own time; gain work experience and apply for work/volunteer opportunities. It will focus on cross-training participants in a variety of transferable technical and soft skills, and work experience that enhance their existing life skills, so they can apply for a variety of teleworking opportunities. Each of the participants will also be allocated a remotely accessible development manager, who will act as a work coach, mentor, and trainer to support and walk the journey with them through the training.  

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