Muslim Women in Law: Achieving a lasting change – an event hosted by Muslim Legal Network for International Women’s Day brought out a full room of lawyers and law students who celebrated the achievements of Muslim women across Australia.
The event not only reflected on the fight for equality in the industry but also highlighted the current barriers that are being constantly broken by Muslim women. They are at the frontline paving the way and making it easier for future female lawyers wanting to work in leadership and senior positions. The speakers were all powerful women, each trailblazers in their respective areas of law.
The panel was comprised of Magistrate Urfa Masood, barrister Rabea Khan and accredited criminal law specialist and law mentor Menoz Bowler, and was moderated by the Vice-President of MLN, Samira Zeno. They collectively shared their experiences and gave their best advice for aspiring lawyers, CALD women and those that come from underrepresented backgrounds.
Her Honour Magistrate Masood imparted her invaluable pieces of advice to the audience:
“You’re not always going to receive the opportunity that you seek. Take the opportunity that came your way and make the most of it.”
“Do not let other people’s perceptions of you define you. Labels are what other people give you and are not determinative. “
“Remember there are going to be good days and bad days. There are going to be days where you question if it’s worth it. There are going to be days where you second guess yourself and your choices. But remember, everyone has those days, no one is immune. During the struggles and obstacles, take a deep breath and seek help from your support networks. Keep knocking on those doors, you’ll be surprised as to what you achieve.”
Barrister Rabea Khan addressed issues such as tokenism and imposter syndrome, stressing the importance of true representation in the legal profession. She stated that women tend to undervalue themselves and are concurrently undervalued by others in the industry.
“True equality is more than just numbers, it is about equal opportunity,” she said.
Lawyer Menoz Bowler emphasised the importance of community work in terms of increasing access to justice for minority and marginalised community groups. She also focused on the importance of understanding and connections between social groups and the legal system.
Towards the end of the event the MLN Vice-President Samira Zeno finally urged aspiring lawyers to remain resilient, to stop letting others judge their identity and not to allow that judgment to interfere with their success.
“If you don’t fight for what you’re entitled to, then how are you going to fight for your clients?” she said.
Special thanks to the Islamic Museum of Australia for hosting us.
We also thank our sponsors Souki Lawyers and Bowler Man & Co for their unwavering support.
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