People with the most privilege tend not to admit, or even be aware they have it. Diversity and Inclusion consultant Mariam Veiszadeh explains how privilege and unconscious bias works and offers solutions to levelling the playing field.
2016 Fairfax Daily Life Woman of the Year, Mariam Veiszadeh is a Lawyer, Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner, Advocate and a Social Commentator. Proud of her refugee background, Mariam is passionate about championing the rights of minority groups in an endeavour to normalise ‘difference’ or rather, normality.
Mariam is an Ambassador for Welcome to Australia, which aims to provide a positive voice in the public conversation around asylum seekers, refugees and multiculturalism.
In 2015, Mariam was selected by Elle Magazine Malaysia as one of 12 women who were helping “change the world”, alongside the likes of Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie. Mariam was also a finalist in the Daily Life Women of the Year Awards as well as being awarded Westpac’s ‘Woman of Influence’ Award for 2015.
She has been described as a woman who uses her “considerable wit and smarts to punch holes in the stupidity of racism, sexism and xenophobia in general” and someone who has “courage, tenacity and perseverance without the protection and resources afforded by public office.”
As a fearless advocate, Mariam is accustomed to being both an advocate against and a victim of xenophobia. In 2015, she made global headlines as she endured months of cyber-bullying for simply speaking out against bigotry. Australians responded by rallying behind Mariam using the hashtag #IstandwithMariam. Her experiences of cyber-bullying have been cited as a case study in several publications and books including in Tara Moss’ ‘Speaking Out’.
Her influence is felt in the many initiatives she promotes across her social media platforms in which she collectively has close to 50,000 followers.