Episode 6: Unmasking Gendered Poverty

Smallwood is delighted to welcome you to the sixth episode of Unmasking Gendered Poverty, hosted by Rutendo Ngwena. Each episode of this podcast will shed light on the complexities of gendered poverty and share insights gained from our 136 years of experience supporting women facing financial insecurity.

In this episode, we are joined by Dr Ambreen Shah, a Trustee at the Smallwood Trust and Shana Begum who is a former Smallwood Trust  Board shadowee.

Our guests will be helping us to explore shifting power and governance through reflecting over the Smallwood Board Shadowing Programme.

You can listen to Episode 6 on SpotifyAcastApple PodcastsAmazon Music or on our website.

Here is a little more about our guests:

Ambreen Shah was born in England and has lived here all her life,  she is second generation Pakistani and is a mum of 2 girls. Ambreen has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years, funding and supporting charities to achieve maximum impact for their beneficiaries.  She brings knowledge of policy, communications, grant funding and social/evaluative research and extensive experience  of working with senior stakeholders and strategy development.  She is passionate about social and racial justice.

Ambreen is a Trustee at the Smallwood Trust and Charity Bank championing their work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She sits on the advisory group of Migration Exchange.  She is also an Associate of Getting on Board which supports greater diversity of people in the charity governance space and is currently championing our Board Shadowing Programme which aims to shift power to women with lived experience.

Shana Begum is a former Smallwood Trust Board Shadowee, a survivor of domestic abuse with a proven track record of making a significant impact in the field of domestic abuse prevention and support. As the Founding Director of St Helens the best me CIC and a pioneer Trustee for Safelives, Shana has been instrumental in transforming board cultures to promote lived experience and create a supportive environment for survivors. Shana’s dedication to ending violence against women and girls is evident in her involvement in various initiatives, including supporting over 300 survivors and their families, initiating free DA training in India and Nigeria, and serving as the First domestic abuse prevention officer in St Helens council. Her contributions have extended globally through collaborations with Safelives and the Together Institute and nationally with government departments like the Ministry of Defence – Defence Safety Authority and the Domestic Abuse Commissioners Office. 

 In addition to her professional achievements, Shana has demonstrated a commitment to education and community service by dedicating 4 years as a governor for two schools in St Helens and actively participating in equality and diversity groups locally and regionally. As a Trustee of the national charity Safelives and the Chair of the BAME group locally, Shana continues to be a driving force in advocating for change and promoting inclusivity in all aspects of society. 

If you’d like to share your responses to this episode, you can continue the conversation with Rutendo at rutendongwena@smallwoodtrust.org.uk.


Unmasking Gendered Poverty is an extension of the Gendered Poverty Learning Programme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

This initiative represents Smallwood’s dedication to understanding and addressing the root causes of gendered poverty. This programme shifts our focus to understanding the process of change alongside tangible outcomes. By doing so, Smallwood Trust aims to derive actionable learnings and best practices that can positively impact the women’s sector on various levels. Moreover, it empowers our grant partners to confront local systems of injustice and create lasting change for women in their communities.

You can find all released podcast episodes on our ‘Learning Journey’ page, a dedicated platform for sharing what we have learnt in our efforts to tackle gendered poverty alongside our partners on the frontline.

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