Empowerment of women is the talk of this decade which includes a focus on their education, status in society, career prospects and respect. There are a lot of women empowerment movements going around the globe, ranging from fighting for rights to equal opportunities; with women empowerment and gender equity and equality in rage following increased focus on it as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG#5).
Although, a lot of women are being recognised around the world for their talents and contributions, the portion of women in certain male-dominated sectors is still meagre. Banking and finance is one such domain, and Islamic banking and finance (IBF) even more so. Cambridge IFA, a UK-based financial intelligence house, has been promoting the cause of gender equality in Islamic banking and finance and women empowerment since 2011, highlighting and promoting the role of women in IBF through its WOMANi programme.
WOMANi is a part of the women empowerment programme by Cambridge IFA to highlight enormously important roles that exceptionally talented women are playing in Islamic business and finance. The WOMANi Programme is a small contribution to the global movement to make the world an equitable place to live in. One of the aims of the programme is to redress gender imbalance, by showcasing the achievements of women in the sector and identifying new role models.
Last year, a list of 100 most influential women in Islamic business and finance, WOMANi100, was published by Cambridge IFA. This year the list was expanded to include 300 women who are playing a leading role in and contributing to the development of the global Islamic financial industry. WOMANi attempts to compile a list of 1,000 leading women in Islamic banking and finance in the next 5 years. Its ultimate goal is to develop at least 1 million women into leadership roles in government, business, and social sector & philanthropy in the world as part of the global Islamic economy.
In compiling the WOMANi300 list this year, Cambridge IFA did extensive research and survey of market opinions, and conducted extensive and sophisticated processing of available data, before coming up with a conclusive list of the 300 most influential women in Islamic business and finance world over. They were selected on the basis of their influence, inspirational characters and proven leadership qualities in their own company and in the wider scale. These assessments were carried out using a methodology based on three factors: Professional leadership, Advocacy and Industry-wide recognition.