I come from Pakistan where female education is not a high priority for the society. I started my education in a small, girls-only school where the general feeling was that females only needed basic education to be able to read and write so that they can manage a household. Females were not expected to go for higher education or take up employment.
I was fortunate to move to the UK at the age of 14 where I continued my education at Hollygirt School, Nottingham. It was a significant transition for me and adjusting to a totally different environment was a massive challenge. Although it was also a girls-only school, however gender discrimination was not an issue and there was a feeling that females can aim for any profession they aspire to. However, over time I realised this was not the case for all students. Unfortunately, for Muslim students, life was not very different from what I had experienced in Pakistan. This provided me with an insight that whilst being part of the same educational systems, Muslim students were being prepared for a very different life as compared to their classmates. This possibly explains the relative paucity of Muslim females in higher education in the UK.
This is reflected in my choice to study for a BSc (Hons) in Information and Communication Technology and subsequently, a Master in Social Science Research (Policy). During my BSc and MSc, I learnt valuable skills such as analytical and critical thinking, literature review, data collection, data analysis and research writing. I achieved Distinction for my project on the Usage of mobile phones in delivering healthcare in BS and I was awarded the best dissertation of the year.
Hence, this promoted me to apply for PhD Studentship in 'Muslim Women in Higher Education Institutions in Britain' to further understand the reasons behind poorer representations of Muslim females in higher educational institutions in the UK as well as to understand that what if done differently, can help mobilise Muslim females to pursue careers in high education in the UK.
Muslim Women in higher education institutions in Britain: Opportunities and barriers to academic citizenship among doctoral students, researchers and academics
PGR Supervisors: Dr Line Nyhagen and Dr Khursheed Wadia