Ministry of Justice
Looking beyond the headscarf
I have recently joined the Capability Team as the Learning and Development Lead. My career in the Civil Service began in HMCTS back in 1994 where I worked in Recruitment. As one of the only few women to wear a hijab I definitely stood out. I was still getting used to the idea of navigating through the workplace so I really wasn’t looking to stand out because of my appearance.
I am from an Indian background and am a proud Muslim woman. My parents were very open-minded when I was growing up and let me know I was free to be me and most importantly make my own choices. When I was 18 I made a personal decision to wear a headscarf to retain my modesty. At the time I was naive and did not realise how some people can be judgemental if you look different from the ‘norm’.I was not ashamed or scared of people knowing I was a Muslim woman but when it came to work I just wanted to be treated like everyone else. The one thing I wanted people to know is “never judge a book by its cover”.
After many years in Civil Service, the tides changed as the diversity guidelines were introduced. This was a real shock for some as certain language and behaviours were not tolerated anymore. This helped to instill a culture of self-awareness and understanding. Often, prejudice is based on ignorance so the obvious solution was to educate and open up a dialogue. The benefits of diversity in an organisation have long been recognised; a diverse mix of people bring different perspectives and a greater mix of life experience and skills.
In October 2019, I celebrated my 25 years of service! Looking back I can see how far we have come as an organisation. Through my personal journey, I too have come a long way. I have become a mentor for the department, a social mobility champion and a member of our Diversity and Inclusion network.
In Digital & Technology, we have a diverse gender representation at all grades and within leadership positions. We have also cultivated an environment where colleagues of all faiths are able to bring their whole selves to work without fear of prejudice or discrimination.
Yes, I am a Muslim and yes I am a woman but most importantly I am Farhana.
Latest News from
Ministry of Justice
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Reduction of interest rates for Court Funds Office special and basic accounts from today (1 June 2020).
Reappointment of Professor Nicholas Hopkins as Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law28/05/2020 10:15:00
The Secretary of State yesterday (27 May 2020) announced the re-appointment of Professor Nicholas Hopkins as Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law.
New measures announced ahead of Hidden Harms Summit21/05/2020 16:14:00
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14-year minimum jail terms for most dangerous terror offenders21/05/2020 10:15:00
Terrorists face a minimum of 14 years behind bars for serious offences and tougher monitoring, as a new Bill yesterday (20 May 2020) entered Parliament.
‘Sobriety tags’ come into force19/05/2020 12:15:00
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Secure video calls to help prisoners maintain family ties15/05/2020 14:20:00
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Statement from the Lord Chancellor on the resumption of jury trials12/05/2020 12:15:00
The Lord Chancellor’s statement on jury trials.