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100 Women of Influence Rabia Siddique delivers at Westpac lunch
01 December 2014
Ruby’s final lunch for the year in Sydney was a sell-out. In the weeks leading up to the lunch with Rabia Siddique the human rights lawyer, war heroine, author and mother of boy triplets, the Ruby event was awash with members emailing to book tickets. More than 120 tickets were sold and guests were blown away by Rabia’s story (pictured above with Shenaz Khan, Bernadette Inglis, Rabia Siddique, Larke Riemer).
One of this year’s 100 Women of Influence winners in the diversity category, Rabia has no ordinary tale to tell, but a life of twists and turns, courageous decisions and gritty determination.
Rabia takes her role as a feminist seriously. She believes in equality of the sexes and in being true to herself. As a young girl living in 1970s Perth she was abused by a next door neighbour. She made the decision that she was not going to suffer silently but stand up for herself and speak out. It was not a course of action that curried favour with her family who wanted her to reman silent about it.
Later in life that determination to step-up to life’s challenges and demand justice returned and as an adult it remains with her to this day. It is, she believes, what led her to a career in law, specifically in human rights, where she has become a voice for those who have no voice or have lost that voice.
As a leader she believes it is important to create ripples of change. Her decision to take the British Armed Forces to court over its discriminatory behaviour around her role in the freeing of British Soldiers in Iraq in 2005 took great courage and perseverance and ended in success.
At the Ruby lunch we heard the potted history. Deeply moved, guests listened in silence, so focussed on Rabia’s words dessert went untouched. Too stunned to ask questions it was only after she sat down and the audience had had a chance to process what they had heard that they were able to speak again.
The buzz was palpable, women and men approached Rabia and spoke with her. Around the room the decision was that the lunch and its speaker were a ‘real’ success.