Photo: Aisha Amijee, 2020 Community Award recipient & BC Achievement board member
Aisha Amijee is a proud British Columbian, mother of three, a recipient of the Community Award, a leader and educator. Born and raised in Surrey, BC, she fills her heart up with countless community initiatives in her community of Surrey as well the Muslim, South Asian, Fijian, Arts and Soccer communities she belongs to. She is the founder of a women’s leadership registered charity, Voices of Muslim Women Foundation, and the founder of Freed Education. She teaches Policy Studies and Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Currently, she is working on a podcast and book about leadership. If that’s not keeping busy enough, Aisha has joined BC Achievement as one of our newest board members.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, Aisha reflects on what this day means to her in her many roles and through the lens of the IWD 2023 theme #EmbraceEquity.
What does equity mean to you?
To me, equity means justice. Too often we think of equality like fractions; when in fact because we are not born into equal life circumstances and privileges; equal parts do not always equal justice. I always tell my three kids, who are different ages and genders that I will always have to parent you each a little differently, but the goal is to be fair and just; which means equity. Just because I treat you or give you different items or amounts, doesn’t mean I’m not fair; I’m doing what I think will give you the most just outcome. In my class, I used to share this cartoon of a taller child and a shorter child, both trying to look over the fence to see a baseball game. The taller child can see over the fence but the younger child can’t. An adult gives the shorter child a box to stand on and then both children are able to see and enjoy the game. That is equity.
How do you incorporate equity into your work / volunteer / life?
I spend a lot of my time volunteering and mentoring other women or being mentored myself. There are times where I give more time, money and energy to a project because I know I have more resources or influence in a certain area or at an event; however, there are times where I am offered a discount to attend an event that would otherwise be out of reach for me because of my positionality. On top of founding my non-profit, Voices of Muslim Women, I also donate two modest scholarships now: one in memory of my maternal grandmother and one in memory of my husband’s maternal grandmother. We both have done well for ourselves in terms of education and career success and we believe it’s important to give back. On the other hand, I have been the recipient of the Marie B Scholarship for example. It helped me tremendously to learn how to turn Voices of Muslim Women into a “business” where we had enough profit to operate and create more jobs for girls and women in our community.
What will you be doing for IWD this year?
This year, I will be attending the Nisa Homes Tea in Wonderland High Tea; it features an amazing panel of women who are leading the way in British Columbia in the Muslim community. Nisa Homes is a Muslim Women’s Shelter that has been serving women in Vancouver for years now. I will also be tuning into the virtual live event: International Women’s Day Conversation with Sharon White, Julia Gillard and Kelly Beaver hosted by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.
For more on Aisha Amijee, read about her here.
To see how you can get involved in IWD 2023, check out this resource. #EmbraceEquity
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