Image capture: Jun 2018 © 2024 Google

The first British Pakistani woman councillor in Nottingham says that those who aspire to enter politics and the public service should ‘make that move’

Dales Ward Councillor Neghat Khan, 42, has marked ten years in office this year.

Coun Khan saw that at the beginning she was mainly in a room full of men.

She said: “If you really want change and representation somebody has got to make that move.

“…it was a bit awkward in the beginning because it seemed like a tokenistic thing to do rather than meaningful,

Khan believes that diversity is important working as a councillor to help give a voice to minorities.

She said: “If you haven’t got people from diverse backgrounds you’re making a decision for the whole city.

“And sometimes it impacts certain communities; religions and cultures if you haven’t got that understanding you make decisions that can actually have a negative impact.

“I’m a Muslim we have two Eids in a year, we have Ramadan and the council was looking at holding elections within that. I had to say actually no…

“My son is 11 so if they’re holding meetings when it’s half term or easter or something sometimes they put meetings in that time or around Christmas.

“If they haven’t got people who have young kids or young carers who are from diverse communities sometimes you miss that cultural stuff that is really important to our community.

“Because otherwise, it looks like we’re not bothered, when we are we just don’t know sometimes.”

Khan feels inspired by the fact that she is making an impact.

she said: “It is knowing you can make change and make a difference.

“I am in a ward with two male councillors, it used to be predominantly three male councillors before I came in, so I tend to do my surgeries every Wednesday.

“I get a lot more women coming to me because they feel more comfortable talking to me about things sometimes it is that advice or seeing someone you can relate to as well.”

Coun Kahn expressed the idea that getting into politics is doable especially as Nottingham is a diverse city.

She said: “If that opportunity didn’t come available to me I don’t think I would’ve been in politics. I love the job I do.”