This World Hijab Day, Delicia Coutinho, Principal Researcher in our Housing and Local Government teams and co-chair of our Race Affinity Group, interviewed Shabana Yousaf, Director of Property, Building Safety and Compliance at ARHAG Housing Association. Shabana is also a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Services Committee at Poplar HARCA. Shabana is Muslim and wears a hijab, a decision she made earlier in her career and advocates for others in the housing and wider public sector.
Delicia asked Shabana about her experiences of wearing a hijab in her career, the importance of mentorship and strong leadership and representation from senior teams to create cultures where colleagues can feel confident being themselves and wearing a hijab. Watch the full interview below:
Delicia Coutinho 0:07
Thank you so much Shabana for for actually helping us with taking part in this interview for at World Hijab Day.
Really excited that you’re here and to be asking you a few questions, but do you mind if you just tell us a little bit about who you are and where you work and a little bit about you, if you don’t mind?
Shabana Yousaf 0:33
The first well, thank you for having me.
It’s a pleasure to come.
Delicia Coutinho 0:36
Shabana Yousaf 0:36
So my name’s Shabana Yusef.
I’m a director of property building and safety and compliance at ARHAG Housing Association, who are based in Stratford.
I’ve been with them for a year and a half and my journey in housing and the sector has been around for about 30 years. I’ve been in the sector for 30 years, started off very much customer facing and have progressed through the years on my journey.
So that’s where I am. I’m also a board member for Poplar. I’m the chair of their services committee and I’m a board member or for hard kernel, so I’m working with HARCA at the moment to do the merger with Tower Hamlets Community Housing, so I’m leading on that as well.
Delicia Coutinho 1:17
Brilliant. You’ve got some exciting stuff, really busy in terms of what you’re doing as well.
Shabana Yousaf 1:20
Delicia Coutinho 1:22
So I’m going to ask you a few questions with regards to World Hijab Day.
So the first one is what made you decide to wear a hijab?
Shabana Yousaf 1:34
That’s a really, really good question.
And when I was younger. So I was in my 30s when I wore the hijab.
I’m much older now. Uh, so a I always saw people wear the hijab and I didn’t really understand what it meant. So I’m a Muslim and I’ve kind of sent you practice before and tried to fast and do my praise when I could do my prayers, but not regularly and I would give to charity like this. So for me it was kind of like observing other people thinking what does that really mean?
And you’d hear things from different people. My parents would say one thing, that that’s part of our religion. It’s good to cover your head. Somebody else would say something else and you know, you look at some people and it was kind of a bit of a fashion statement. So everybody had kind of, you know, different people had different versions of what it meant for them.
But actually when I started to look into my religion a bit more, it meant to me that it was kind of, it was kind of a protective covering for me in terms of my identity of my respect, and it was, it was kind of a visible force of, of who I am and what I represented.
Delicia Coutinho 2:39
Shabana Yousaf 2:46
So for me, when I started wearing the hijab in my 30s and it came, it came very suddenly to me. I decided very suddenly that I wanted to wear it. I was working for a major G15 housing association and I’m sure we’ll come on to, not naming them, but naming how that felt later.
Delicia Coutinho 3:06
Shabana Yousaf 3:06
But I was working for a G15 and when I wore it, although I’d made my team aware a lot of other people were quite surprised, you know?
Delicia Coutinho 3:14
Shabana Yousaf 3:14
So yeah, it just means everything to me.
It’s a representation of who I am.
Delicia Coutinho 3:22
Thank you so much for that, Shabana. I think it’s quite interesting in terms of reasons why people choose to do things and I can I definitely hear you in terms of people may have sort of had certain reactions and things. So and we’ll come on to that in a second. But how would you describe what wearing a hijab means to you and your religion and also?
Shabana Yousaf 3:43
Delicia Coutinho 3:48
And how would you describe that to other people?
Shabana Yousaf 3:53
Yeah, I mean it’s an integral part of my faith.
And as I said earlier, it’s it represents who I am.
It’s a very visible form of identity, you know and that kind of then sets you up as who you are and the values that you have, which are, you know, about respect, about peace, tolerance, integration, they’re all the core values of Islam.
Delicia Coutinho 4:14
Shabana Yousaf 4:22
So for me it’s this is what it symbolizes. And I think to other people, I think you know it’s real hit and miss I think Delicia with how people receive it.
Some people are comfortable, some people are not. I’ve been to meetings, and you get to kind of you you can get a different sense and this is not this is not me having a hunch this is just how people behave with you I think you know you read it as it is.
Delicia Coutinho 4:51
Shabana Yousaf 4:53
So yeah, I think it’s as I said, it’s a core part of me wearing the hijab.
Delicia Coutinho 5:01
Shabana Yousaf 5:03
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Delicia Coutinho 5:06
And what were the reactions of those around you in your personal and work life when you began to wear your hijab?
Shabana Yousaf 5:14
Yeah, that’s another really good question actually.
So personal family, I’d kind of prepared and said I would.
I was the first to wear the hijab in my family, so I’ve got an older sister, I’ve got sort of cousins and you know, aunt and etcetera and my mum wears like, the very loose headscarf, like, you know that Pakistani because my origin is from Pakistan.
So she were very loose head scarf on her head.
It would be very loose, but you could see the hair.
It’s kind of that’s how they would wear it culturally in Pakistan.
So she’s kind of kept on with that.
Delicia Coutinho 5:43
Shabana Yousaf 5:45
And when I wore my hijab, which was more kind of tighter around the hair, covered the hair and yeah, my mum was delighted. My brothers were, you know, they were happy. My sister was happy, you know? She doesn’t wear the hijab even now.
But you know, everybody’s different. Everybody has an individual choice, but yeah, so really, really happy for me.
Delicia Coutinho 6:01
Shabana Yousaf 6:05
Really good. Really good kind of feel from the family.
And then I was working for a G15, as I said at the time when I wore the hijab, and although I prepared my team and said, look, it’s I’m going to, I’ve decided to whether hijab it’s the first of Ramadan tomorrow and I’ve decided that this year this is the year for me.
This is the year where I really want to embrace Islam a bit more fully as I’m getting closer with my religion and my creator. So my team were absolutely fantastic. Absolutely awesome. And they would just, you know, it makes no difference to us because it’s you. You’re the person and we know you’re a great boss.
Delicia Coutinho 6:40
Shabana Yousaf 6:41
We know you’re great at your job and it absolutely makes the difference.
So they’re amazing, but within the business, I have to say a few people said to me, well, why are you wearing that you know? And I got some strange looks.
I have to be honest and some of that was, I think people just trying to understand why I was wearing it. They just didn’t understand the reason behind it and some people, you know, just kind of looked uncomfortable with it.
Delicia Coutinho 7:02
Shabana Yousaf 7:06
As in, what does it mean for us as a business? How will it impact us? So I could see there were lots of questions going on in people’s heads and actually it’s not, you know, it’s, you know, it’s really interesting that something like this or a symbol of faith could actually frighten people.
Delicia Coutinho 7:09
Shabana Yousaf 7:23
That was a bit that quiet was quite intriguing for me that it would worry people, you know.
Delicia Coutinho 7:29
Yeah, it’s almost. I guess it’s more people saw you without it, and then suddenly they saw you with it.
Shabana Yousaf 7:34
Delicia Coutinho 7:36
So they must have maybe thought what’s happened?
Shabana Yousaf 7:37
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I think I think you’re right because you know, if you got your hair open one day and its blow dried out like I used to have and in a different style every day, believe me honestly a different style every day. One day it will be up in a ponytail and one day will be out and you know, and I’ve had it permed. And I’ve had it highlighted, you name it and I’ve had it, so.
Delicia Coutinho 7:57
Shabana Yousaf 7:58
But actually yeah, it was a big transformation, you know.
Delicia Coutinho 8:01
Yeah. And I actually remember one of my friends so when she got married, so this was in the sort of been sort of early to mid-20s she then just decided to wear the hijab and all of us actually asked her as well. Ohh yeah, actually a few of us, not me, but a few of the others did ask. Did your in-laws make you put this on?
Kind of thing and she said no, I’m doing it for me.
Shabana Yousaf 8:26
Delicia Coutinho 8:29
This is my choice.
It was that sort of thing, but I think the immediate sort of reaction of people was she just got married.
Shabana Yousaf 8:35
Delicia Coutinho 8:36
Somebody’s, you know, made her do it.
The husband or the in laws or something?
Shabana Yousaf 8:38
Yeah, you know what?
That’s a really good point that you’ve made, because I’ve actually come across that in with a number of friends who decided at some point in their life to wear it, and it was almost like, you know, the view was the, you know, the public view was that all that, you know, she must be oppressed.
There must be something going on, that its been forced and lot these questions and I get I get that all comes from a good place that people care you know.
Delicia Coutinho 8:59
Shabana Yousaf 9:07
But actually, sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit.
You’ve gotta be a little bit more a clearer that things can happen for different reasons, and in my case it was pure intent.
Delicia Coutinho 9:14
Shabana Yousaf 9:17
It came purely for me.
You know, there was no pressure from anybody.
Delicia Coutinho 9:19
Shabana Yousaf 9:21
It was just something within me that said, you know, this is the time.
This is the right time for me, you know, in terms of that change because I was kind of trying to trying to understand my religion a bit more.
I think that’s where this has come from and actually just trying to get to grips with, well, what does Islam really mean?
I kind of know Islam for my parents and what they’ve taught me, but actually, you know, even though I read the Quran in Arabic, I didn’t actually understand.
Delicia Coutinho 9:39
Shabana Yousaf 9:43
So I think, yeah, I think this is the.
This is where it stems from really.
Delicia Coutinho 9:47
No, I completely understand that. And coming on to a little bit more sort of work-related question. So has wearing your hijab had an impact on your recruitment experiences or opportunities at work?
Shabana Yousaf 9:54
Yeah, I think I would say 110%.
Yes, yes, without a shadow of doubt.
I mean, you know a I think the hijab is kind of linked partly to Islamophobia and I think there is a very clear connection between how people see you and the comments that I’ve had in my 30 years in housing.
Delicia Coutinho 10:13
Shabana Yousaf 10:20
So I’ve only I’ve I’ve worn my hijab.
You know, with that kind of giving away the age, but probably about now 18 years, I think 15 years something like that, 15 years.
Delicia Coutinho 10:29
Shabana Yousaf 10:30
So it it’s interesting that when I didn’t wear my hijab and when I went for an interview and how I was received in, in some interviews, I’ve been received completely differently and that and some of that might be that people are trying to understand over, OK, this person wears a hijab.
Delicia Coutinho 10:43
Shabana Yousaf 10:48
And should we shake the hand?
Should we not?
That might be some. You know, there’s, as I said, some of it comes from a good place. It’s not all bad, but I have seen some reactions. I mean, if I can give you one clear very clear example, it might help you to understand why I’ve made the statement. So I went for an interview and again, I’m not going to name where I went for the interview, but a very long time ago.
Delicia Coutinho 11:02
Shabana Yousaf 11:07
So probably a about 5 years ago and I went for an interview in Ramadan. I was fasting and I was told that I’d been interviewed by two people, so I got the email saying you’re interviewed by this person and this person itself look great. There’s two people on the panel and when I arrived there was only one person there.
So that’s that threw me a little bit thinking, oh, this is just one person. This is interesting. And then I sat down, and person offered me water, would you like a drink? And I said no, I’m fasting. Actually it’s Ramadan, but thank you for offering.
It’s really kind of you.
And then they said Ohh, I see. And then the interesting bit was they got, they put their bottle of, they put a flask on the table in front of me in very slow motion that opened it, poured it. They looked at my reaction, which was very bizarre.
I know, I know.
And you know I’m very intuitive, you know, I’m very sort of clear about what I see.
I understand it, and this person was probably the water looking at me and drinking it and not saying anything. It was really bizarre and I actually thought to myself, really, really, do you have to do this? You know?
Delicia Coutinho 12:18
Oh my goodness.
Shabana Yousaf 12:19
Yeah, and it was a very clear statement about how that person felt. And I and I just thought to myself, it was quite fun. You know, you know, I I’ve got sort of tears because I’m laughing as well at the same time with the memory of what happened, but it was very, very bizarre. Their behaviour was very bizarre and I reflected on it afterwards. I spoke to my partner when I came back and said it’s really bizarre experience and you know their whole body language changed when I said I was fasting up until that point and it just completely the whole interview was very bizarre.
So you could see that the person was clearly not comfortable with me and these sort of isms do exist. Unfortunately, they do.
Delicia Coutinho 13:00
Shabana Yousaf 13:01
Yeah, they do.
Delicia Coutinho 13:03
Shabana Yousaf 13:04
Delicia Coutinho 13:04
Sorry. Hmm. In terms of, so that would have been you going for an interview.
Have you had any sort of experiences and places that you’ve worked?
Shabana Yousaf 13:10
Yeah. Do you know what I’ve had sort of sort of you know, things that are kind of a little bit more covert. You know things that aren’t so obvious in your face things, and I’ve experienced that even without the hijab, to be fair, you know, so I’m.
Delicia Coutinho 13:24
Shabana Yousaf 13:31
I’m kind of giving you the full spectrum as an Asian sort of Muslim female.
Delicia Coutinho 13:34
Shabana Yousaf 13:38
I’ve seen it on both ends, but with the hijab, I think you know there’s a lot of people that don’t try and show it. I’ve seen that it’s kind of it’s something that, as I said, they it comes from a good place. They try and sort of understand what this is about and try and set the boundaries so they’re not offending you and you know they don’t want to kind of cross the line, but I have seen things in my career where people have been covert, but overt as well, but more covert.
Delicia Coutinho 14:03
Shabana Yousaf 14:03
But over and I think for me it’s, you know, I’ve challenged it as well.
You know, actually, when somebody has clearly said to me well, you know, kind of it’s a horrible thing to say when you say to somebody you don’t know what you’re doing and you think really, you know, and why is that?
Delicia Coutinho 14:17
Shabana Yousaf 14:19
Because I’ve done the job for so many years and I knew what I was doing. You know, you kind of think to yourself that this is this is really odd, odd behaviour. And there was a real stigma to this, isn’t there? Where people kind of kind of form an opinion about you based on what you’re wearing, you know, or a tattoo or whatever, whatever it may be, you know.
Delicia Coutinho 14:35
Shabana Yousaf 14:39
So there are lots of biases, and yes, I have experienced it. It’s been it’s been some days it’s been tough, you know and I had to go home and kind of say to my husband, like I’ve had such a crap day and this has happened and you know, you kind of emotionally because we’re human at the end of the day, you know, we’re not, we’re not.
Delicia Coutinho 14:39
Shabana Yousaf 14:57
We’re not made out of rock and stone.
We are humans with feelings, you know, and I think people forget that when they target you, they forget that. So yeah, I’ve had. I’ve had bad days.
I’ve had to go home and kind of let it out, you know, physically, emotionally, but and pull myself together and say, no, that’s not that’s not your fault.
Delicia Coutinho 15:10
Shabana Yousaf 15:15
That’s actually that’s a failing, and that’s their failing. I’ve had to remind myself, you know, so yeah.
Delicia Coutinho 15:19
Shabana Yousaf 15:22
Delicia Coutinho 15:26
How can we overcome such experiences or challenges?
Shabana Yousaf 15:34
Umm, I think. I’m looking at as the as from the perspective of the lens of my sector that I’m in, so I’m looking at it from the housing sector at the moment and I’m sure there’s other women who are in hijabs in, you know, in different sectors like the medical field and journalism and whatever that they’ve got their own challenges.
Delicia Coutinho 15:47
Shabana Yousaf 15:55
But from my lens looking through Shabana’s lens, I think it’s really important to give women in hijab the opportunity. Especially not saying that you just give them the chance because they wear the hijab. But actually if you see this talent there, there’s growth and they’re a good fit. They’ve got the experience, they have to be given the chance. The biases have to be removed and I think it’s people at the top in these organizations, you know, in any organization in the second last sector, in any sector.
You know that, but we have to get, you know, exec teams and boards more diverse.
We have to because if we don’t get things right at that the top level, it’s never going to be right internally as you as you as it cascades down.
Delicia Coutinho 16:35
Shabana Yousaf 16:44
And I think that is critical to getting this right. Doesn’t matter, I think for me it doesn’t matter how much equality, diversity, inclusion training you do, you know, uh, you know, unconscious bias training. I think they’re all good. I think there are good.
Delicia Coutinho 16:59
Shabana Yousaf 16:59
I think there are good reminders of what happens in people’s lives and the sector, and you get nuggets from different people’s experiences.
Delicia Coutinho 17:02
Shabana Yousaf 17:05
They’re fab to learn from, but I think a lot of it is about. It’s about you.
It’s about the individual taking ownership of their mindset and looking to change that mindset. That comes from within, I think.
Delicia Coutinho 17:14
Shabana Yousaf 17:19
And that’s and it’s only you as an individual of, you know, the person that can change it at the end of the day. But I definitely think there’s, I said, a big onus on boards on exec teams to make sure that the culture is right within the business to challenge that culture where they see something is wrong, you know, to hold people to account.
Delicia Coutinho 17:39
Shabana Yousaf 17:40
I think these things are so, so important, you know, and I think, and I have to say that the organizations that I’m with the two organizations both are ARHAG and Poplar HARCA. I have to say they’re both in the in the East End of London.
Delicia Coutinho 17:53
Shabana Yousaf 17:53
OK, so once in Tower Hamlets one is in Newham, Newham and they’re both very, very diverse organizations. They’re both embraced Diversity and Equality.
You know, I’ve not experienced anything untoward from these organizations.
Absolutely amazing role model organizations. The leadership is fantastic on both sides and you know you can. You can just see the atmosphere in the office and the culture that the vision and the value is because you know and I think that’s why I’m so comfortable here.
Delicia Coutinho 18:16
Shabana Yousaf 18:20
That’s why I think I I can see what they offer and but I do think that the other part of your question is that we need to mentor more people. We need to coach more people in hijabs and create those opportunities for people because I think you know the door is not always open for those people and not just for women in hijab.
Delicia Coutinho 18:31
Shabana Yousaf 18:40
I’m talking about.
Just generally where people are underrepresented as a whole, you know, you know, I’m talking about Black people.
Delicia Coutinho 18:42
Shabana Yousaf 18:47
I’m talking about people that have, you know, sort of different genders. But I think they just needs to be more equality in general, you know?
Delicia Coutinho 18:54
And there’s this I like.
What you’ve said about this mentorship that needs to actually happen because you’re not going to see the leaders that look like you or look like me there unless we actually do this.
Shabana Yousaf 19:07
Delicia Coutinho 19:12
And just a question, did you have a mentorship in your career actually just wanna know?
Shabana Yousaf 19:20
Yes, yes, I did.
And I was very fortunate to have the two mentors that I did.
And if it’s OK, I’d like to name them because I they’re absolute role models for me.
Delicia Coutinho 19:28
Shabana Yousaf 19:31
They’re legends in housing and the first is the very lovely Emma Palmer from Eastlight Community Housing.
Who was the very first person that mentored me and huge amount of respect for Emma will always have a lot of love and respect for Emma and the other person is Chyrel Brown, who was at One Housing Group with and again Chyrel did some mentoring with me was absolutely incredible as well. And huge event again amounts of respect and love for Chyrel, both respectable ladies both very, very great role models in the sector for females.
And I think that really helped me and in and in all fairness, I have to say one more thing just for Emma and to kind of just praise her work at Eastlight because when I was at East Light, I think she started doing a lot of work around equality, diversity, inclusion. I think I was the only person that wore a hijab in that company, and they are predominantly it’s a white company, you know, or in the region that they are.
Delicia Coutinho 20:30
Shabana Yousaf 20:31
And in terms of who they’re representing their residents, but I have to say that that that is probably one organization outside my area of where I am now in terms of HARCA and ARHAG, I felt so comfortable and at home and that is because the ethos and the culture of the SMT, them exec team that cascades down is very, very clear about equality and inclusion.
Delicia Coutinho 20:31
Shabana Yousaf 20:54
So I think the work that Emma did in that organization, I think that holds so much credit and value to me in terms of her effort in, you know dealing with this kind of area, which is very tough in the East of England, I think.
Delicia Coutinho 21:05
Shabana Yousaf 21:08
So I think credit to her and actually some of the sessions that she did, it made me come out of my shell a bit more and that’s why, you know, I think these sort of sessions that organizations have within their staff remix us so, so important, not just a training, but just to have that teams call and have a public speaker come in and have a lunch and learn session, you know, have a coffee morning with somebody who’s, you know, talking about these things is so, so critical.
Delicia Coutinho 21:08
Shabana Yousaf 21:36
Bring people in your organizations, please. You know, they need people need to open the doors and invite people in who have been on that journey, who are the experts of around this EDI.
Delicia Coutinho 21:40
Shabana Yousaf 21:47
It’s so, so important. I think the learning the sharing that has to continue.
So I thought I’d share that with you.
Delicia Coutinho 21:55
Alright, thank you very much.
That’s really good to hear and I completely get the whole piece around mentorship because actually, how are we actually going to get the representation if you haven’t got allies who are actually going to help with this?
Shabana Yousaf 22:07
And they’re both. I think you know Emma and Chyrel are absolute allies.
Absolute incredibly individuals in champion this area and we need more people like them and.
And as I said, my boss at work, Chris is an amazing ally. You know, Steve Stride the chief executive at Poplar HARCA. Amazing ally and these are the true role models. I think these people that named inequality, diversity, inclusion, I think they are champions, they really are.
Delicia Coutinho 22:37
Brilliant. No, thank you for that, Shabana.
Shabana Yousaf 22:39
Delicia Coutinho 22:40
And this is just leading the last question actually just leading in from what we’ve been speaking about.
Shabana Yousaf 22:42
Of course, yeah.
Delicia Coutinho 22:44
So how important is it to see leaders in hijabs?
Shabana Yousaf 22:49
Incredibly important, I can’t.
I can’t sort of put a price on this. I think it’s so, so important to have women in their attire that they’re comfortable in coming to work where they where they comfortable coming to work in their attire and they’re accepted in that tire because I think, you know, we are, we’re a diverse country. You know the world is diverse and I think we have to accept people, you know, based on their based on their credibility, their work and I think we have to sort of really move away this notion of actually looking at people with what they’re wearing and that would affect their job or their role or having, you know, having biases.
Delicia Coutinho 23:21
Shabana Yousaf 23:33
I think it’s so, so important that we have more role models speaking up and actually, you know, it kind of using their platforms to promote the hijab, you know, and actually, you know, I know.
Delicia Coutinho 23:42
Shabana Yousaf 23:44
I know engineers that wear the hijab. Now I know other surveys that wear the hijab.
I know doctors that wear the hijab in my circle in my network on LinkedIn and it’s really, really refreshing that those people are coming out and talking about the hijab and yeah, and I think we need more role models.
Delicia Coutinho 23:52
Shabana Yousaf 24:01
It’s incredibly important to support, particularly the young generation who are wearing the hijab that may be experiencing negativity in their early start to their career, or where they may have come across biases or heard of biases through their friends.
Delicia Coutinho 24:09
Shabana Yousaf 24:16
And it could be quite off putting and I think it’s really important to support particularly that younger generation that are coming in to work and you know and even younger than that who are in schools, you know.
Delicia Coutinho 24:18
Shabana Yousaf 24:31
And I think there’s it’s important for, for, for, you know, people like us or, you know, I think they can see, I think GatenbySanderson is absolutely amazing.
And I think you know for you guys to go into schools and promote certain things about quality would be great for me to go in and say I’m a champion in my field and talk about my career journey and the challenges would give inspiration to the younger generations that you know, nothing comes without hard work and challenges.
Delicia Coutinho 24:52
Shabana Yousaf 24:56
So never to give up, but never give up. We must never change yourself.
I think Delicia, final word on for anybody else, you know, be who you are.
Be proud of who you are. Be happy with who you are, you know and don’t change yourself for other people. Let other people accept you for who you are.
You know, it’s really, important.
Delicia Coutinho 25:17
As a really powerful message.
Thank you so much, Shabana and really appreciate you doing this and just also wanted to say I’ve seen your post on LinkedIn and towards the end of Islamophobia awareness Month.
Shabana Yousaf 25:20
Delicia Coutinho 25:32
And I thought actually you’d be the the person for me to interview for this for this day actually.
Shabana Yousaf 25:32
Delicia Coutinho 25:41
So yeah, in terms of you talked about, you know, putting things on your platforms and channels. And have you seen other leaders like yourself do this in terms of putting things out on LinkedIn? Or wherever you know, you’re going to have that community. Who’s actually going to see this and say, actually, you know, I feel good because I’ve seen Shabana post this.
Shabana Yousaf 26:08
Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen people in my network from different sectors go out more and sort of challenge and just through sort of events that I’ve had with other professionals.
Delicia Coutinho 26:12
Shabana Yousaf 26:19
You know things have come out about their experiences and that has given them more confidence to go out and actually stand up.
Delicia Coutinho 26:24
Shabana Yousaf 26:25
And I think that makes a huge difference. Like you said, it’s so important, I think for people to have role models.
Delicia Coutinho 26:34
Shabana Yousaf 26:35
Uh, because we all need them in life. This is this is how we are designed as human beings that we look for, for people and you know whether it, whether it’s your, whether it’s that you’re a kid and you’re into football and you like David Beckham and him, you know or Ronaldo are that inspires you or whether you look at an artist and you think about artist is kind of really inspired me to really be better at art, you know.
Delicia Coutinho 26:56
Shabana Yousaf 26:56
And I’m hoping that today I can inspire some women who would look at the sector and say, yeah, you know what I’d really like to get into housing.
I think it sounds like you know it’s a it would be a great place to work for me and grow and develop or get into getting to the building side of it or the property side of it and become a surveyor.
Delicia Coutinho 27:12
Shabana Yousaf 27:14
And I’d love to champion more people like that and offer mentoring services.
I mean, even if by you or LinkedIn I’d love to support more people and open the door.
Delicia Coutinho 27:25
No, thank you, Shabana.
I think we’ll definitely have some bits coming, so we’ll definitely talk to you about that as well.
Shabana Yousaf 27:28
Delicia Coutinho 27:32
But thank you so much.
I think this has been really, really eye-opening, but also really informative and I do think that there’s a lot that needs to be done.
Shabana Yousaf 27:34
Delicia Coutinho 27:45
There’s, you know it.
Shabana Yousaf 27:46
Delicia Coutinho 27:46
There’s I can see the journey ahead and I just feel like.
Shabana Yousaf 27:48
Delicia Coutinho 27:51
Yes, in housing there are there are moves being made but you know across sectors, whether it’s public, private sectors etcetera, they’re definitely needs to be a lot more that needs to be done actually.Shabana
Yeah, I would agree.
But no, thank you for having me.
It’s been a pleasure talking to.
It’s been really, really, really good.