Ask Women Anything – September 2014 With Dr. Sheema Khan

Sheema Khan at Media Action's Ask Women Anything Event. Photo by DaveDeansPlace.

Sheema Khan at Media Action’s Ask Women Anything Event.
Photo by DaveDeansPlace.

On Wednesday September 24th, Media Action Média hosted the popular Ask Women Anything event at the Wild Oat Bakery in Ottawa. The Ask Women Anything is a cross between a Science Café and an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. Most importantly, women experts are able to stand in front of an audience, up close and personal, and not only describe who they are and what they do but respond to any question around this from the audience, without the media constructing them in any way.  It’s just another way that Media Action Média is promoting the positive representation of women.

The speaker of the evening was the extremely talented Dr. Sheema Khan, a patent agent at Shapiro Cohen and formerly an academician in Chemical Physics, Harvard University. She is the author of the acclaimed book “Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman”. Apart from being a patent holder in drug delivery technology, Dr. Khan also juggles being a mom of three and a monthly columnist for the Globe and Mail.  The manager and staff at Wild Oat Bakery were kind enough to host the event and the guests who attended kept the conversation flowing effortlessly. Needless to say, the event was a roaring success.

At the event, Dr. Khan and the guests discussed her views or and motivation behind her achievements, as well as her take on religion and feminism. In response to audience questions, she gave us her insights on being a modern and yet liberal practising Muslim in Canada. She touched on several diverse points, including her views on wearing the hijab, on how Muslim women see themselves in an international arena, the importance of being professional without compromising beliefs and practises, her views on religion being akin to science and how she reconciles being a Muslim woman with also being a feminist.

Dr. Khan’s down-to-earth honesty and modesty while answering our questions was incredible. It was amazing to listen to her speak calmly and openly throughout the evening.  One would assume that almost everyone went home that evening with Dr. Khan’s most resounding statement: Muslim women have the same agenda as much as other groups of women in the world; to be recognized and appreciated for our talents and not to be judged by our personal choices.

Media Action Média would like to thank the manager of the Wild Oat Bakery, Amanda Watkins, and her staff for making this AWA event truly amazing. A special thanks also goes out to Zainab Muse and Leon, from Dave Dean’s Place, who promoted the event. Their article can be found here.

For more information, please contact Amanda Parriag at amanda@parriag.com.