She was once branded “the most dangerous woman in Britain”, a label Shami Chakrabarti wears with pride.
In 2003 the political organisation Liberty was taken over by Shami Chakrabarti, a woman not afraid of making her opinions heard, she is the voice of those who can’t speak up and she is the woman behind the organisations incredible last 12 years of success. Her aim was simple; she wanted to protect basic rights and freedoms in the UK through the courts, in parliament and in the wider community.
#1 Follow your passions
Shami has always been in the heart of politics, from a young age she would have debates around the dinner table with her family regarding the death penalty, her views so strong and her voice so powerful that she knew this was the only career for her. Just two days after she took up the position as director at Liberty disaster struck with the US 9/11 terrorist attack, a shocking event that kick-started Shami’s journey at Liberty.
#2 Stand up for what you believe in
Since Shami took over at Liberty all those years ago the annual turnover has risen from £1 million to £1.5 million and the organisation has flourished. They have defeated proposals to lock up people for 42 days without charge, the imprisonment of foreign terror suspects without trial and most importantly she has helped to create a world that is more understanding of the importance of human rights and freedom. Shami believes that the organisations concerns should be everyone’s concerns; we need to create a better understanding of human rights and we need to be made aware of the importance of freedom.
#3 You can have it all
Shami is not only the woman behind Liberty she is also the wife of a City lawyer, mother to her nine-year-old son, the chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and the proud recipient of a CBE, there really isn’t much this woman hasn’t done. She is living proof that a woman should never have to choose between a career and her family, having both should not be a privilege it should be an option for everyone. In 2014 Shami published a book titled ‘On Liberty’, in which she shares her personal story and allows readers their first insight into what life is like as a campaigner and a human rights activist.
#4 Even when times get tough you can make a difference
Shami’s personal life has not always been kept so under wraps; she was once the victim of a smear campaign that spread the rumour that she was having an affair with an MP, the difficult situations that she has had to deal with throughout her life have only ever made her more determined and more focused on her goal. Shami’s Indian-born parents were attacked by racist skinheads while pushing her as a baby in her pram; she says that coming from a British Asian family means that she knows and has experienced first-hand how people have been degraded.
Shami understands the thoughts and feelings of those who feel discriminated and undermined, she is the voice of those who can’t be heard and that is what makes her such an inspiration.