Sheema Khan is an author, patent agent, mother and a monthly columnist for the Globe and Mail. She holds a Ph. D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard University, and is an inventor on a number of patents in drug delivery technology. In addition, she is an author of “Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman”, and a co-founder of the Family Honour Project dedicated towards the elimination of family-honour-based violence. Khan was a speaker at the most recent Ask Women Anything (AWA) event hosted by Media Action on September 24th at the Wild Oat Bakery. For more information on the AWA series, please visit Media Action’s official website, and read our previous article on the Ask Women Anything series.

Upon reading this description about Khan, it is safe to assume that she has accomplished many great things in life and during the one-hour AWA event, Khan was able to reflect on these accomplishments, as well as answer questions posed to her by members of the audience. Some of these questions centered on her religion (Islam), her accomplishments, as well as how she’s been able to merge the two (religion and accomplishment) and the impact one has had on the other. Also noteworthy is that Khan answered every question with delight and humility which made for a very entertaining yet engaging discussion of people talking about the limitations that still persist for females in Canada today.

Although the event was attended by a lot of people, I would have liked to see more male attendees and participants. Some males were in the audience, but while counting, I never moved passed five fingers. The men were simply spectators perhaps intimidated by the females in the room, or perhaps by the discourse of the event. If Watson’s speech on the HeForShe Campaign was aimed to invite men to not only be feminists but to participate in public discourse that involve women, then males need not feel threatened to participate in gender inequality discussions. If the males that attended the past AWA event participated more, then this would have made for an equally engaging session, where opinions from the male sex would have been welcomed and voiced out. But, until the time comes when men feel welcome to discuss gender inequality issues then will we truly have accomplished a small leap in promoting gender equality all around the world.

Feel free to check out and stay up to date with Media Action’s official website to learn about the upcoming AWA events that will be happening in Ottawa.

For a glimpse at the event, view the pictures below, and let us know what you think.