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Our Stories Our Lives

Wahida Shaffi (editor)

8 July 2009

What are the experiences of British Muslim women?


After working with a Bradford-based community group, Women Working Towards Excellence, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has brought together the findings in a fascinating book. It presents the stories of 20 women from Bradford between the ages of 14 and 80, from their own points of view.

Based on a broader project called OurLives, which explored the experiences of over a hundred women in Bradford, the book belongs to a long tradition of oral history where practical knowledge is passed from generation to generation. It offers an intricate mosaic of the experiences, views and hopes of these women and gives voice to an important and often marginalised group.

The book is available to buy from The Policy Press.

A collection of films from the community group's work is also available:


 Participatory films

 Extra Features

"This is a delightful read. The women from a great range of backgrounds tell us their stories in words that are moving, interesting, direct and honest. They also explain in simple and direct terms what their Muslim faith means to them. With so much prejudice against Islam and claims that it abuses women, it is important to hear the views of Muslim women in the UK."
Clare Short, MP

"What comes over most clearly from these vivid, conversational articles written by Muslim women in Bradford about their lives is their ordinariness. These women have varied jobs, families, hopes and expectations, and their faith does not cut them off from the real world. On the contrary, any world should be proud to have such thoughtful, humorous and committed people in it. This book will encourage its readers to encounter genuine relationships with real women in their real lives."
Dr Jane Williams, Lambeth Palace

"At a time when so much is written about Islam and so little is understood, this insightful, touching and, at times, surprising book allows the often silent voices of Muslim women to be heard. Every story is unique; each one is essential."
Zaiba Malik, journalist and writer

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