This is a weekly column from Tasmina who is
looking to be elected as a Member of the European Parliament. Here
is an article about her from the Daily Record...
Alex Salmond and Tasmina
TASMINA AHMED-SHEIKH, is organising her latest
venture - the first ever Scottish Asian Women's Awards as well as
pursuing her political ambitions.
SHE'S a Bollywood actress, a high-flying lawyer and is now bidding to be
the first Asian MEP for Scotland.
But Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who is also a mother of four, laughs off the
idea that she has been put on Earth to make other females feel
She’s far too busy with her latest venture – organising the first-ever
Scottish Asian Women’s Awards – to be bothered with the idea that she’s
some kind of superwoman.
She said: “I’m just a woman doing what every woman does all the time –
we look after our families, earn money and balance our lives. We don’t
spend a lot of time talking about it because we’re just getting on with
it. It’s normal. I’ve met lots of women who are doing amazing things
without any recognition – and they are contributing to the improvement
Tasmina, who set up the
Scottish Asian Women’s Association last year, has found top-level
support for the inaugural awards and it’s already pencilled in as an
The judging panel includes Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Labour
leader Johann Lamont, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie as well as actress
Elaine C Smith. And a glamorous night is planned at Glasgow Science
Centre on Thursday.
Nicola Sturgeon and Tasmina
Tasmina, 42, from Glasgow, said: “Asian women
have watched their male counterparts attend these kind of events for
years. The women might have been supporting and helping the men but they
weren’t getting any recognition or encouragement.
“But it’s not just about being businesswomen or entrepreneurs. Asian
women don’t talk about things like breast cancer – it’s private for
“We have nominees who have been through breast cancer and have been open
with their communities about it, helping others by talking about it.
Solicitor Tasmina’s own fight for equality in every aspect of her life
means she understands the issues many Asian women face.
She remembers the name-calling she endured as a mixed-race child at
primary school in Edinburgh in the 70s and 80s.
Then, as a newly wed, she struggled to fit into her husband Zulfikar’s
traditional Asian family.
When she knew it was time to have kids of her own, she was determined to
continue studying for her law degree and gave birth to her son two days
after her graduation ceremony.
She said: “When Zulfikar and I got married, we did the traditional thing
and moved in with his family in Glasgow.
“But we were living with his mum and dad and his five brothers and
sisters – that just didn’t work for me.
“It was very hard for him to leave his family and come with me. I didn’t
want to be the half-white woman who took him away from his traditional
“But we made it clear there was no disrespect involved. We just had to
do our own thing, pursue our own lives.
“We went out to Pakistan for a while and that’s when I got involved in
acting. I got the lead in a drama series on Pakistani national TV but I
couldn’t even speak Urdu. I had to become fluent in two months.”
A Bollywood film and some modelling work followed. Tasmina remains a
poster girl in India and Pakistan and is recognised by fans in the most
unlikely of locations.
She said: “I was on holiday with the family and was at Universal Studios
in Florida, standing in a queue with no make-up on, my hair scraped back
from my face, wearing a pair of shorts and a vest top.
“Someone came up to me and said, ‘Oh my God, Tasmina Sheikh,’ and asked
for my autograph.”
She’s now put her acting career aside to pursue her political ambitions,
following in the footsteps of her father, Mohammed. In 1986, he became
the first Asian regional councillor in the UK, holding his Edinburgh
ward for two terms.
Her dad had arrived in Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s and settled in
Edinburgh with his English wife Yasmin, Tasmina and her sister Seema.
The girls were drafted in to help dad deliver leaflets as he stood for
election as a Tory candidate.
So, when Tasmina decided to enter politics, the Conservatives welcomed
her with open arms.
She fought the Govan seat for the Tories in the first Scottish
Parliament elections. She lost – and defected to the SNP the next year.
She said: “When I spoke to people on the street, it was clear the Tories
couldn’t deliver what they wanted.
“I realised it wasn’t the right party to deliver the things I wanted
either – a multi-cultural, all-embracing, equal Scotland.”
Tasmina is now a member of the Yes campaign for independence and a
nominee for selection as an MEP candidate for next year’s Euro
So, how will she manage to jet to and from Brussels while looking after
the kids, practising law and helping to unite the Asian women of
She said: “I’ll manage – that’s what women do.”
11th April 2013
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17th April 2013
How the European Union is helping to protect children online
24th April 2013
Women in Politics
6th May 2013
The UKIP Creep
16th May 2013
Britain in Europe - the US factor
21st May 2013
EU reaches out to
Scottish local authorities
27th May 2013
Members of the European Parliament vote to extend
protection for victims of Violence throughout the EU.
3rd June 2013
Playing by the Rules
10th June 2013
Working in Europe
17th June 2013
number of homophobic, Islamophobic and racist attacks being carried out
25th June 2013
Developing the High Education Agenda across the EU
1st July 2013
Celebrating Croatia's membership of the EU and drawing parallels with
16th July 2013
School's out for the Summer
13th November 2013
Speech at the European Parliament