This fall, the Brooklyn College Women’s Center launched the Muslim Women’s Leadership Development Project to foster mentorship and career building in the Islamic community.
In a project funded by the Association of American University Women, a grassroots advocacy organization for women and girls, dozens of Muslim women students will connect with on- and off-campus Muslim women for mentorship and professional support.
Sau-fong Au, the director of the Women’s Center, and Najuna Adam, the project coordinator of the Muslim Women’s Leadership Development Project, will invite mentors of diverse career paths to lead workshops, lectures, and close-knit conversations focused toward academic planning, community building, and leadership development.
“A lot of Muslim women do not have a role model,” said Adam, a graduate student in intercultural communication. “We all have the same anxiety, we are all nervous at first about how we will be treated and how we will be perceived.”
The project kicked-off with on-campus mentor, Yasmin Ali, who identifies as Muslim and heads the Brooklyn College Bursar Office.
At least 20 percent of Brooklyn College students identify as Muslim, according to a survey by the Women’s Center. In a round table discussion, students revealed the challenges and stigmas of growing up without mentors that reflect their religious and cultural identities.
“I realized that even though we come from different backgrounds we face similar issues as Muslim women,” said Maryam Sibil, who is a junior and Childhood Education/Psychology major. “We have pressures not only from society, but also our parents.”
Students hope the project can build more awareness of the campus’s Muslim community.
“There is more to me than a piece of cloth on my head or a piece of cloth on my face,” said Iqra Nazlin, a junior, who looks forward to growing her professional networks inside and outside of the classroom.