Zainah Anwar

Executive Director

Region(s): Asia, Global
Country of focus: Indonesia, Malaysia
Based in Kuala Lumpur

Zainah Anwar co-founded two groundbreaking women’s rights groups that engage with Islam from a rights perspective to promote the rights of women living in Muslim contexts.

She led Sisters in Islam (SIS) in Malaysia as its founding Executive Director from 1999-2008 and is currently the founding Executive Director of Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family that was launched in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.

Musawah today spearheads groundbreaking activities at the global level, bringing scholars and activists together to produce new feminist scholarship in Islam, conducting trainings on women’s rights in Islam, and engaging with the CEDAW process to examine the ways governments use Islam to justify reservations and perpetuate discrimination against women, and to offer the possibilities of reform towards equality and justice for Muslim women.

Zainah also writes a monthly column, Sharing the Nation, in Malaysia’s largest English language daily, The Star. In 2018, she was honoured by Harvard Law School as one of the top 25 women globally who contributed in the areas of law and policy. She has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of the “150 women who shake the world” and by Women Deliver as one of 100 most inspiring people championing the rights of women and girls, and she was cited by Huffington Post as one of the 10 leading Muslim women at the global level.