‘I came out a stronger person’: Lib Dem candidate’s divorce triggered move into politics

By Dan Brookes
December 8 2019, 22.10

Hina Malik’s divorce sparked her move into politics.

The Liberal Democrat candidate in Feltham and Heston represented herself through the court process as working for so long meant she was not eligible for legal support.

This was complicated further by the Shariah law which means a Muslim woman requires consent from her husband if she initiates the divorce.

 “I came out as a stronger person,” she said.

“I realised that others like me would be going through this: no job, two kids to feed – and the system would let them down.

“I learnt so much and I thought I need to be out there to support people.”

She is particularly passionate about changes to the law for women in the UK like her who essentially need a second divorce after the legal one to finalise a separation.

In addition to her political venture, she was inspired to start her Voice of Women Society – a social network for women who feel isolated to connect with others who might have similar problems in their life.

Ms Malik currently teaches Year Three at a school in Heston but is also Pakistan’s first female aeronautical engineer.

But that career looked unlikely prior to her move to London in the 1980s.

 “I asked a teacher if I could be an aeronautical engineer,” she said.

“He just looked at me and said ‘what’s stopping you?’

“People in my family are from air force backgrounds in Pakistan and I would see my uncle in uniform.

“I asked them how I could be a member of the air force and they laughed at me.

“They said the only way I would be anywhere close would be if I married one.”

After graduating from Imperial College with flying colours she received an invite from Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, and oversaw the building of aircraft parts for multinationals like Boeing and General Electric before returning to the UK to further her career.

Work as a Lib Dem followed and nowadays she balances all this and finds time to unwind with daughter Iman and son Riyan who she says are missing her cooking during the campaign.

“The more you do, the more the more you find that work life balance and something you enjoy hardly seems a burden,” she said.

“Sometimes I only sleep three or four hours but it doesn’t bother me.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

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