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Inspiring and supporting Tower Hamlets women into leadership

Women into work - Baroness Uddin

Baroness Manzila Uddin takes a selfie with Mayor Rahman, BBC Asian Network star Nadia Ali and guest speakers at the event

An east London borough, which has one of the highest rates of unemployment for women in the country, is working hard to reduce the barriers women face and encourage more women into leadership roles.

Tower Hamlets has among the highest levels of unemployment in Great Britain for women, with 4.3% of women claiming a benefit mainly for the reason of unemployment, compared with 3.1% of women in Great Britain (figures taken from Office of National Statistics, Claimant Count By Sex and Age, Females, February 2023)

At 59.7%, the borough has the second lowest female employment rate in London (ONS Annual Population Survey, 16-64 Employment Rate - Females, October 2021 to September 2022)

The employment rate for Black and Asian Multi-Ethnic women in Tower Hamlets is 46.8%, lagging far behind the 64.8% employment rate for Black and Asian Multi-Ethnic women across the capital (ONS Annual Population Survey, 16-64 Employment Rate, Ethnic Minority Females, October 2021 to September 2022)

Tower Hamlets Council hosted an International Women’s Day event on 16 March, featuring keynote speeches from a panel of inspirational guests, including renowned public health specialist Dr Halima Mohamed.

Dr Mohamed has more than 15 years operational and research experience in public health, including handling pandemics in Somalia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, the UK and Canada.

Other guests included Baroness Manzila Uddin, who was the youngest women to enter the House of Lords in 1998 and the only Muslim and Bangladeshi women to be appointed to the House of Lords.

The panel was completed by Jane Hollinshead, a managing director from Canary Wharf Group Plc, Karen Wint; Chief Executive of health charity Sister Circle and Ayesha Hakim Rahman who is Head of Corporate Strategy and Transformation at Tower Hamlets Council.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman opened the event and pledged his support to provide more opportunities for women to access education and jobs.

He spoke about reducing inequalities and promoting equity.

Mayor Rahman said: “Tower Hamlets is a borough whose radical character is defined by the struggles and resistance of women.

From Mary Wollstonecraft, who was born in Spitalfields, and later wrote the founding text of Western feminism; right through to the brave Bengali women and others, who came here in the 1970s and 80s and faced down racism to lay the foundations for future generations of women.”

Providing career support and helping people into work is a priority for the council.

The council employment service, WorkPath, provides support for people at all levels of work, skill or experience to get jobs. From basic upskilling to advanced training, work experience to apprenticeships, and CV and interview help.

The council is investing in many schemes aimed at reducing inequalities in the borough:

  • The £1.1 million EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) and University Bursary schemes which will assist young women and girls from less advantaged backgrounds through higher education and help drive attainment levels
  • Investing in our youth services£13.5 million to will help ensure young women and girls have safe spaces for sport, after-school learning, and socialising.
  • Increasing spending to the Voluntary and Community Sector in Tower Hamlets, overseeing £4.5million of investment in the next few years.
  • Investing over £4 million in community safety to tackle issues like violence against women and girls
  • To find out more about employment opportunities and leadership schemes for women visit Tower Hamlets Womens Network




Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2023