By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Dr. Nyla Ali Khan has been appointed as a Commissioner on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She has been appointed for a five-year term by Senator Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City), Republican President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.
The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1994 to act as an advisory entity on equity issues relating to gender bias. It serves to monitor legislation to determine whether it is discriminatory toward one gender or the other and act as a resource and a clearinghouse for research on issues related to women and gender bias.
The commission reports annually to the governor, president pro tempore of the Senate, and speaker of the House of Representatives and makes recommendations concerning needed legislation or regulatory changes relating to equity and gender bias.
Dr. Ali Khan is the first South Asian Muslim member of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She has served on the commission’s Advisory Council since 2015.
As a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, she acts as a resource and provides her expertise on societal violence and structural inequities that result from what she describes as “deep-rooted prejudices against women.”
Dr. Khan stated, “The questions to which I seek to provide well-substantiated answers are as follows: How can we, as women, develop the ability to organize and mobilize for social change, which requires the creation of awareness not just at the individual level but at the collective level as well? How can we develop self-esteem for which some form of financial autonomy is a basis? How can we make strategic life choices that are critical for people to lead the sort of lives they want to lead? We require a quality education for these mammoth tasks.”
An Edmond resident born in New Delhi, India, Khan is a professor at Rose State College in Midwest City. She taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma and was a professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
She received her Ph.D. in English Literature and her Masters in Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of Oklahoma.
An author of several published articles, book reviews and editorials, Khan has written four books: The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society and Polity, The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam Women and Violence in Kashmir Between India and Pakistan, and A Labor of Love.
She has given lectures on the subject of Kashmir at several universities including American University, Columbia University and New York University. As an Oklahoma Humanities Scholar she speaks publicly statewide, including at women’s correctional facilities, on education and women’s empowerment.
Dr. Khan is a member of the Harvard-based Scholars Strategy Network, the Women’s Interfaith Alliance, and the Advisory Council for the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She has served on the board of Generation Citizen, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower the younger generation through civics education.
In 2016, Khan received the Oklahoma Human Rights Award from the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance and the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association.
Khan was honored as one of the 100 Trailblazers for 2018 by the Oklahoma League of Women Voters and recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award & Silver Medal for her national public speaking and work at the community and grassroots level in Oklahoma.
“Working and living in Oklahoma has taught me that community is the ability to organize and mobilize for social change, which requires the creation of awareness not just at the individual level but at the collective level as well,’ Khan said.
For more information about the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, visit ok.gov/ocsw.