Bengali former councillor is named as Hidden Heroine for St Albans exhibition

Herts Hidden Heroines with Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard

Herts Hidden Heroines with Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard - Credit: Archant

A named ‘hidden heroine’ in an exhibition which is currently still on view in St Albans, led a special event for the Bangladeshi community at Verulamium Museum over the weekend.

Herts Hidden Heroines gathering

Herts Hidden Heroines gathering - Credit: Archant

Syeda Momotaz Rahim was St Albans district council’s first Bengali woman councillor and was one of the women nominated as a Hertfordshire Hidden Heroine in an exhibition which has been running throughout August at the museum in St Michael’s.

Momotaz described the exhibition as ground-breaking and outstanding in the way it showcased heroines from the warrior Queen Boudicca to ‘ordinary grassroots women like me’.

Nearly 30 members of the Bengali community visited the exhibition at which Momotaz said: “We want to celebrate our sisters, mothers and daughters but we also want to celebrate the support we have from our brothers, sons, grandsons, nephews and the men in our community. We need to work together.”

She said she had been fortunate in having been mentored by great women including her own mother “to Jewish sisters, Dr Annette Lawson and June Jacobs, who brought me out of my shell, and Jyotsna Ghose, a former chairperson of the UK Asian Women’s Conference who introduced me to work in gender equality with Annette and June.”

She added: “I cannot accept the ‘heroine’ status alone, I have to share the platform with local sisters like Ann Scorer who chairs the St Albans Women’s Interfaith Group and another Bengali sister Noorjahan Begum who was the first Bengali woman to work at St Albans Citizens Advice Bureau.”

Momotaz, who was nominated as a ‘hidden heroine’ by Jo Askham, St Albans arts development officer, added: “We hope this exhibition will inspire Bengali women and the wider community to champion gender equality and work towards an equal world and an equal society.”

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The exhibition finishes today.