Boost for women in Islamic banking

Samina Akram left her job at Merrill Lynch International Bank eight years ago to start her own consultancy in London, specialising in sharia-compliant finance. hat started as an informal ladies lunch club with other women in the industry will this week become the first global Women in Islamic & Ethical Finance Forum, a conference for more than 200 people at KPMG’s Canary Wharf offices in London. Akram, 36, who set up Samak Consultants, seeks to support women in an industry in which they face more obstacles than in conventional banking due to religious conservatism, restrictions on mixed-gender working environments and stereotypes about women in Islamic finance.