Professor Ghazala Mir

Professor of Health Equity and Inclusion, University of Leeds

Professor Ghazala Mir is Professor of Health Equity and Inclusion at the University of Leeds and Chair of the  Inequalities Research Network.  Ghazala is also Research Lead at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development

What do you enjoy most about working in your sector?

I love being able to write my own job description through research proposals that get funded and through the various opportunities to get involved in or initiate equity activities within a large university

How important is innovation within your sector?

New knowledge derived from research is by nature innovative but it can be created in ways that reinforce social inequalities and fail to address these (such as by ignoring population diversity within research samples).  Research methods that are inclusive and redistribute power and resources through the research process are extremely important for modelling social inclusion and contributing towards this within society. The representation and voice of people from socially excluded groups, and proper resourcing to make sure this happens, is key to inclusive innovation in my sector.

What professional achievement are you most proud of?

I feel really grateful to hear when my research has made a significant difference to people’s health and wellbeing, it’s the best kind of feedback.

What, if any, are the challenges of being a woman working in your sector? 

As someone who experiences intersectional discrimination, I find ingrained attitudes about women, Muslim women and women from ethnic minorities a regular challenge.  Over the years the combined impact of these attitudes has resulted in my being publicly harassed by senior figures about the credibility of my research, especially on Muslim mental health or infant mortality rates in excluded groups.  I’ve developed expertise in effective put downs to discriminatory comments and some choice cutting remarks help maintain my wellbeing!

What advice would you give to other women working in your sector?

Use whatever privileged position you have to promote social justice and truth and make these part of your basic values.

What would you say were the key challenges in your sector that currently create a barrier to tackling inequalities?

A lot of lip service is paid to the issue of inequalities, it’s good that we have got to the stage at which people recognise they exist but a lot is still to be done on implementing equity initiatives, particularly when these involve redistribution of power and resources.

Do you find any particular challenges as a woman working in the North of England?

There’s a lot of evidence that inequities are greater in the North of England than in the South and it’s harder to be involved in national decision-making, which is primarily focused in London and often excludes populations in  the North.

You can follow Ghazala on X (formerly Twitter) at @ghazala_mir and the University of Leeds at @UniversityLeeds


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