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Working together for gender justice through leadership

Alison and Nosheen

Alison Elliot

Dr Alison Elliot is driven by the belief that ‘nothing about us without us is for us’.

In 2004, Alison became the first woman Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the first lay Moderator since 1567. She has recently been appointed as the General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters.

As a leader in areas of public life historically dominated by men, Alison has found new opportunities for nuanced dialogue and engagement.

In Alison’s experience, being a woman in leadership in both a secular and church context offers new opportunities and possibilities for public dialogue and engagement, such as a debate in the Scottish Parliament on women in prison.

She has been able to bring a different lens to the social environment in such issues as the delivery of public services and land reform. This lens stresses the importance of valuing and trusting people and letting communities take control.

The centrality of Alison’s faith drives her passion for gender justice. She has greatly appreciated the support of other women, particularly those women whose own churches did not offer them leadership roles, but who were inspired by seeing them practised by others.

I look forward to the time when it is taken for granted that women are able to do what men can do, and it’s no longer a matter for comment.

Dr Alison Elliot

Nosheen Khan

Rev Nosheen Khan is the first female Principal of the Theological Seminary in Gujranwala, Pakistan. She won’t be the last.

At a young age, on a girl’s Bible retreat, Nosheen heard the words 'go and tell your brothers' and knew that she was called to the ministry. At that time women could not be ordained in the Church of Pakistan.

However, Nosheen was determined, and despite cultural expectations and her family’s concerns that she may never marry, she went to theological college in the USA. Although her grades were excellent, the path to ordination was still not smooth.

Without the blessing of her congregation, she was put forward for the ministry and was finally ordained in 2015. Nosheen is still not permitted to pastor her own church, but the door for female ordination has been opened.

God has blessed me in many ways, and I believe women’s ordination is going to create great change in the church in Pakistan.

Rev Nosheen Khan