Among the 30 most influential Muslim Women in Sport globally, according to the 2018 Power List launched by the Muslim Women in Sport Network (MWSN) today, we have international athletes, administrators, journalists, grassroots changemakers and equal rights campaigners. The launch of this Power List also sees the launch of the global home of Muslim Women in Sport Network (MWISN).
It is incredibly exciting to launch this list at a time where Muslim women are in the spotlight, largely being spoken about and judged rather than supported and encouraged to share their own narratives. This Power List showcases a diverse tapestry of professions within the sports industry and women from all walks of life, who represent 20 countries and together positively impact the lives millions across the world. The final list was assembled with the help of our expert panel of HRH Prince Ali bin Hussein, former NFL star Husain Abdullah and the first ever Muslim woman to serve in the UK Cabinet, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. It was a humbling experience as the extent of the reach of these women became apparent.
In conjunction with launching the list and the site we are opening up registration for our Muslim Women in Sport Virtual Summit – Innovators in Sport – which will be held between 4-6 May 2018. A ground-breaking global virtual conference featuring some of the leading Muslim women experts in sport, the conference will showcase inspirational women in sport who lead, inform, and display innovative practices across the sport industry. From Sport for Development to Leadership and Athlete Advocacy, the focus will be on a call to action to purposefully pursue and embrace diversity as a critical enhancer to best practice in sport.
Muslim women in sport is not a new phenomenon. From Nawal El Moutawakel in the Eighties to Ruqaya Al-Ghasara, we have had pioneering athletes from across the world and we now continue to be blessed with a diverse range of role models whom young Muslim women and girls growing up can look up to and want to emulate. To complement this list, we also have a list of ‘Ones to Watch’ as they grow in their work and influence in the coming years.
This Power List is vital to demonstrate the breadth of achievement that is possible and is actually taking place for women who are very much a minority in the industry. I hope that this list will inspire more Muslim women and girls to aim high and achieve their goals. And I hope that the visibility of such distinguished Muslim women in sport will ensure that the narrative shifts to a positive one that reiterates the true power of this unique group of women.