I was recently asked to speak on a panel as part of International Women's Day being hosted in our office. The event itself was run by the Association of Muslim lawyers (AML) and since I happen to work for a law firm it would not be entirely unreasonable to assume I might be a lawyer. I am in fact, not a lawyer. They were too polite to retract their invite and that was the start of something unusual for me.
We had been asked to talk about our personal journeys and our challenges as women and how we overcame them. I was amongst 4 panellists, 3 of whom had impressive resumes, working in areas of human rights and criminal law. They had come from different backgrounds and had had to overcome adversity throughout.
It is unnerving to be in the company of incredible ladies articulating their journey with humour and passion. I listened with intent about the struggles they faced because they were women, they were women of colour and they were women of faith. The audience laughed and listened earnestly.
My journey was a bit different. Not being a lawyer meant I could offer an alternative perspective. I chose to focus on our lifestyle choices; the need to be cognicent of our food sources and aiming to live with less consumption, less waste, including slow fashion.
I received some really positive feedback - it was encouraging that my story resonated so well. Sustainability it seems was indeed of interest to people (I’ll confess this was not something I expected from a large crowd of lawyers!).
This type of event provides a great way of sharing experiences. There's a lot of information on so many topics that can feel overwhelming. Hearing from someone else can influence our own choices and through these small steps we can bring about change!