Earlier this year I was interviewed as a multicultural woman in leadership and my views published by FECCA in Issue 57 of the Australian Mosaic.  In this month’s AMUST edition I aim to share my back story in the hope to encourage participation of women in economic life and reminding sisters of the importance of our responsibility.

In the second wave of migrants to Australia, my mother, a young woman and my father, found their way to Australia in the 1960s.  They emigrated to improve their standard of living and before long they established a family.

Community organizations and the mosques proved to be significant constructs providing the support and services needed to survive in the challenging years ahead.

With limited English and no disposable income, my late mother exemplified selfless love, tending to the needs of children, serving the patriarch of the family and embedding culture, faith and love.

My mother was the bed rock of our home. She unknowingly modelled leadership. Forward planning and making decisions that would pave the way for the second generation.

Even though I inspired to re-create the same home environment, the wake of the working mothers’ era was the driving force behind my entry into the workforce. I felt challenged balancing family life, a 9-5pm job, faith and study.

Looking back through the history of Islam, I found Khadijah (r), Fatimah (r), and Maryam (a) were examples of amazing women who set examples of productivity.

As a contributor of economic participation, I aspired to be productive, as well as pave the way for the third generation. Upholding cultural and religious values was the key.

Today’s women are unquestionably privileged compared to 50 years ago. However today’s Muslim woman live a more complex and busier life. My advice for today’s working Muslim sisters is to thrive to maintain family values, professional boundary and faith.

Have you heard of the saying, “the family that prays together, stays together?” Praying helps to maintain a sound family construct, critical to mental, emotional and social well-being.

The next generations have served me and my family making us feel proud. Following their grandmother’s footsteps of quality family time, prayer, a pillar of Islam and Deen at home, these are the secret ingredients  to personal and professional success.

Staying connected with Allah provides the foundation of strength, inspiration, resilience and relationships. A transferable skill between home to work.

In all their diversity around the world, Muslim women and girls can be meaningfully, equally and fully contribute to economic growth, participation and leadership when they continually seek Allah’s guidance.

We are woman of diversity spread across three generations. Eat, Pray and Unite. Leadership begins at home.