Faiza Shaheen: Championing Economic Equality and Social Justice

Faiza Shaheen: Championing Social Justice

Faiza Shaheen, born in 1982 at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, East London, is a beacon of hope and an inspiring figure in the fight against economic inequality. Raised in Chingford, East London, Shaheen’s roots are a testament to the diverse cultural heritage of the UK.

Her father, a car mechanic from Fiji, and her mother, a laboratory technician from Pakistan, instilled in her the values of hard work and resilience. Growing up alongside a brother and a sister, Shaheen’s early experiences shaped her understanding of the socio-economic challenges faced by ordinary families.

Shaheen’s academic journey began at Chingford Church of England Primary School and continued at Chingford Foundation School and Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow.

Her first job, at Greggs the bakers in Chingford Mount, was a humble start that grounded her in the realities of working-class life. Despite these modest beginnings, Shaheen’s intellectual prowess led her to St John’s College, Oxford University, where she studied philosophy, politics, and economics.

She furthered her education with an MSc in Research Methods & Statistics and a PhD from the University of Manchester, solidifying her expertise in economic research.

Career and Advocacy of Faiza Shaheen

Shaheen’s career is marked by her unwavering commitment to addressing economic inequality. Her initial work at the Centre for Urban Policy Studies at the University of Manchester paved the way for her subsequent roles.

In 2007, Faiza Shaheen joined the Centre for Cities, an urban policy research charity, and by 2009, she was a senior researcher on economic inequality at the New Economics Foundation.

Her dedication to social justice led her to Save the Children UK in 2014, where Faiza Shaheen served as Head of Inequality and Sustainable Development. From 2016, Shaheen was at the helm of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS), a policy think tank with roots in the trade union movement.

Her influence extended internationally when she became the Inequality and Exclusion Program Director at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation between 2021 and 2023. As a visiting professor in practice at the London School of Economics’ International Inequalities Institute, Shaheen continues to educate future leaders on the complexities of inequality.

Shaheen’s expertise and eloquence have made her a regular contributor to debates on television news programs like Newsnight and Channel 4 News. She has collaborated with Channel 4 and the BBC on documentaries that highlight issues of inequality, and she engages with audiences at major events like the Glastonbury Festival and The World Transformed.

Parliamentary Candidacies

A lifelong Labour voter, Shaheen’s political journey took a significant turn when she joined the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015. Identified by The Guardian as a “rising star” in 2017, she quickly became a prominent figure in the party.

Faiza Shaheen was nominated for Woman of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards and named one of the Top 100 Influencers on the Left by Iain Dale, a broadcaster for LBC.

In July 2018, Faiza Shaheen was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour in Chingford and Woodford Green. Her decision to stand for election was driven by the adverse impacts of welfare reforms introduced by the constituency’s long-serving Conservative incumbent, Iain Duncan Smith.

Despite increasing Labour’s vote share and achieving the party’s largest ever vote share in the constituency during the 2019 general election, she narrowly missed securing the seat. Nevertheless, her determination remained unshaken, and in July 2022, she was selected to contest the seat again for the Labour Party in the upcoming 2024 general election.

Political Positions

Shaheen’s political platform is rooted in her commitment to creating a fairer society. She advocates for universal childcare, free school meals for primary school children, and increased funding for the state education sector, including special needs provision and child mental health support.

Faiza Shaheen is a strong proponent of abolishing university tuition fees, improving local transport links, and restoring neighborhood policing with additional officers and PCSOs.

Faiza Shaheen has also been vocal about the urgent need to rebuild the local Whipps Cross Hospital and expand the NHS workforce to reduce waiting lists and improve service provision. Her dedication to addressing the climate crisis is evident in her support for increased investment in greening the UK’s economy and boosting renewable energy initiatives.

Know Your Place

In 2023, Shaheen’s first book, “Know Your Place,” was published by Simon and Schuster. A powerful blend of memoir and polemic, the book offers a personal and statistical examination of societal and economic structures. Shaheen argues that social mobility is a myth perpetuated by those in power to maintain their privilege.

Drawing on her own experiences and a wealth of data, Faiza Shaheen dismantles the notion that individual effort alone can overcome systemic barriers related to class, race, and education.

“Know Your Place” is a call to action, urging readers to recognize the entrenched inequalities that shape our lives and to join the fight for a more equitable society. Shaheen wrote the book during evenings and weekends while working full-time at the LSE, exemplifying her dedication and work ethic.

Personal Life

Faiza Shaheen is married to actor Akin Gazi, and together they have a son. They reside in Woodford Green, East London, where Shaheen continues to champion the causes that are close to her heart. Her personal and professional experiences fuel her passion for creating a just and inclusive society for all.

Also Read:Lisa Francesca Nand: Inspirational Leader in Journalism and Travel

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.