Blog: Inspire Inclusion: creating a safe place for all women to thrive

March 7, 2024
Woman with Hijab

Blog by Fahmeda Naheed 

Inclusion has different meanings in different settings. The spirit of inclusion is to include migrant women in all processes of understanding life in a new country, giving them a voice in decision-making processes that affect them, and breaking the biases. Inclusion means giving women the power to make their own choices in all aspects of their lives. 

I have been living in Ireland for the last fifteen years. Being a woman of colour and a mother, I have experienced exclusion. My journey in this country has encompassed a career as a writer, as well as public speaking, broadcasting, being active in my community, volunteering, advocating for people from minority backgrounds and campaigning for social change.   

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Inspire Inclusion” and I love the idea of inspiring inclusion. Because I’ve experienced exclusion and have seen how it impacts women in all its forms – socially, culturally, economically and at community levels.

Racism is deeply rooted in a system which heavily excludes women who belong to marginalised groups.  After several incidents of experiencing exclusion, I thought to inspire myself first, through identifying my potential and understanding that inclusion is not a privilege but a basic human right. I asserted myself in difficult situations, adopting a sense of belonging.  

Women can achieve their potential when they are given their basic rights and the tools to feel empowered to express themselves and make better choices for themselves.  

Inclusion is also embedded in the essence of celebrating women based on their social, economic, spiritual, emotional, academic, cultural and political contributions and achievements. It is about empowerment and valuing all cultures – and not less than that. 

As a society, we must break down the barriers and patriarchal cultures and create a safe and respectful environment for all women to thrive.

The uniqueness of every single woman needs recognition.  Migrant women bring a different perspective, and their life experiences contribute to all walks of life. Women can be leaders in different ways, and their ability to transfer this power in formal leadership and decision-making positions is one of the key pillars for inclusion. 

To me, to inspire inclusion is to understand that we are change-makers and ensure we create opportunities for other women around us to also have a voice. 

Since being here in Ireland, I have felt myself embraced and appreciated by my community, colleagues and friends I made along the way.  

Every single day of my life, I meet inspiring women who evolve their lives inside and outside of their homes. And I aim to listen and amplify their voices through my work. By providing support and resources, women can be empowered to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential. And this will have a ripple effect through generations to come.