Humaira Awais Shahid is a working journalist, human rights activist, and former legislator. She focuses primarily on human rights issues and has been advocating, writing, and legislating against human rights abuses.
At Radcliffe, Shahid will explore the subject of violence and women in the sociocultural context of the Muslim world, particularly South Asia. Her analysis will focus on the cultural and religious roots of this violence, in which tribal practices and political Islam become tools for violence against women. A complex and contrived relationship between Islamic law and political Islam needs to be defined in order to measure its impact on the subjugation of women. Shahid will also explore the evolution of women’s roles in policy and legislative reforms that counter violence against women. She will recommend legislative measures that may help curb violence.
Shahid is the first parliamentarian of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab to pass a law (and repeal a former one) as a private member. This achievement took more than four years in parliament, with opposition from government benches, administrative departments, and the cabinet. Her legislation, the Punjab Private Money Lending Act, 2007, prohibited interest-based private money lending in Punjab, Pakistan, and her law was replicated and adopted by the Provincial Assembly of the North-West Frontier Province. Shahid earned an MPhil in English from the University of the Punjab.