The Vacant Seat – Women’s Publication
Muslim women are often a visible target for marginalization and stereotypes and this has led to the need for empowerment and a celebration of their many contributions. Our dream to publish a quarterly magazine aims to meet the immediate need for a podium catered to the specific needs of Muslim Women in Edmonton. This project is about providing a platform and opening minds for marginalized women, regardless of ethnic background, race or religion. We strive to give women a voice and an outlet for self-expression as well as providing a medium to form connections. Each publication will follow a seasonal theme in order to carry relevance and will provide health (including mental, spiritual and physical) and social (including recreational, fashion and food related) content. The articles, written primarily by Muslim women, will include creative submissions such as poetry and art as well as informative columns pertaining to health, wellness and beauty. Although every volume will be unique, each will have an underlying emphasis on self -reflection, growth, and empowerment. The writers will be selected based on their writing expertise or professional experience in order to ensure quality material. Ideas that have been brought forth include editorials, profiles of active women from the community, health and nutrition advice, an events page, social issues (bullying, etc.), self – love and reflection, and interfaith resources. We aim to bring families together by including pages with word searches and crosswords for children as well as art competitions. In the short period since our planning has commenced, we have had almost a dozen women with relevant experience come forth and offer to write for us. In fact, the excitement and anticipation is a testament to the growing need for such a platform. Planning for a name is currently underway. Some names that have been discussed are “The Vacant Seat – pull up a chair” to allude to a setting for open dialogue. Another name is “Soulace” as it carries a feeling of serenity, while the words “Soul” and “Lace” offer spirituality along with feminism. The final name will be confirmed to ensure that it aligns with our vision and goals. Additional research currently underway includes meeting with members of the Muslim community who have launched community publications. A complete SWOT analysis is being conducted and a process map has been drafted.
Who Will it Benefit?
This project will help young and old Muslim women (adolescent and older) discover and access interesting people, events and discussion. The distribution will be targeted, but not limited, to businesses that are frequented by Muslim women, such as ethnic grocery and clothing stores, cafes, restaurants, and clinics that have a large Muslim client base. We will also be promoting the publication to a younger demographic on social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This in turn will allow us the opportunity to track readership and collect data through an annual survey. We will continue to evolve the content according to the feedback we receive from our readers. This publication will bring people together and aid the exploration and development of women in our community. As a result, we anticipate a rise in civic engagement, increased diversity in professional circles to reflect the changing demographic of our city and improved quality of life of our readers and their families. The mission is to build strong women, strong families and a strong community. The opportunity for a ripple effect is profound.