From Then to Now: Opinion Piece (WOC In The Workplace)

Written by: Niroshini Mather

Growing up I was always pragmatic about my dream career. One year I wanted to be a teacher like my aunt and the next, an accountant like my mother. 

The constant theme was choosing a career I knew to be achievable; a career I had seen others like me work and succeed in. 

I never dared to dream about becoming an astronaut, an actress or even the Prime Minister of Canada like most other kids. From the beginning,I was conditioned to believe that brown-skinned girls like me did not belong in a debate or on the Oscar stage. 

Looking back now, it’s evident that  I was conditioned to believe that my aspirations had limits; limits resulting from the societal implications of my race and gender. 

 In recent years, there has been optimistic change; the rise of many women of color in white male dominated fields has been inspiring and a sign of hope. Even as a Canadian, elected vice-president Kamala Harris, an indo-african American woman, expressed the tangibility of the impossible. Her election called for the world to recognize their mistaken biases, and for women of color to no longer allow their race, or gender, to create doubt in their potential and resilience. Of course, she is not alone in her achievement. Over the past few decades, we have seen the rise of a new set of pioneers setting new standards and workplace norms. 

Waad Al-Kateab: a Syrian journalist who created a groundbreaking documentary regarding the Syrian Civil war, becoming the first Syrian to win an Emmy. 

Nemonte Nenquimo: an Indigenous leader from the Ecuadorean Amazon who took it upon herself to protect the rainforest when the government continually failed to do so. 

Sania Nishtar: a Pakistani physician, internationally recognized for her work around health development in Pakistan. 

Maitreyi Ramnikrishnan: one of the first Tamil-Canadian actors to star in the leading role of a television series.

The rise of women of colour is visible in almost every field, from sports broadcasting to mechanical engineering, actuaries to business ownership. It has given me an utmost hope for the next generation of young women of colour; hope that they will be unafraid to dream, and achieve, boldly and unapologetically. 

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