A proud Muslim born in Australia to Sri Lankan parents, Azmeena Hussain is a Non-Executive Director at Football Victoria, and a Football Australia Legacy '23 Ambassador. She is also a Principal Lawyer at Maurice Blackburn.
In celebration of Harmony Week 2023 and its theme “Everyone Belongs,” Hussain shared her thoughts on how the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 ™ provides an opportunity to showcase the multicultural melting pot we live in.
“Australia is one of the most diverse and multicultural nations in the world,” she explained.
“One in two of us speak another language other than English at home. We have over 300 different cultural backgrounds represented right here in our rich, multicultural nation. There’s no denying that our diversity is most certainly our strength.
“We’ve got a terrific opportunity to showcase this multiculturalism on a global scale and that’s something that’s unique to football as well. It most certainly is the global game and it’s well represented by all cultures and all faiths all around the world.”
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 ™ hitting our shores in less than four months, Australia will play host to fans from all over the globe. Hussain urged all Australians to be involved in conversations around diversity and inclusion.
“I think we’ve done an exceptional job in ensuring representation of diverse women, but we still have a long way to go,” she said.
“Diversity is not a conversation that is exclusive to people from diverse backgrounds – it’s whole society issue. If we’re serious about tackling issues of inequality, discrimination and lack of opportunity, we all need to be part of that conversation to really level the playing field.”
She hopes that future generations can embrace who they are without fear of having to conform.
“I really hope that we can get to a stage where this image of being a Muslim woman can be normalised, and no one bats an eyelid when a woman like me walks into court or appears on a soccer pitch,” she said.
“I’m a proud Muslim woman. I wasn’t always a proud Muslim woman that would openly show my faith and show my difference, because I felt this strong sense and need to conform to the norm, and fit this particular image.
“Over time, what I’ve come to realise is that my difference is what makes me a stronger person. And I hope that future generations of children and young people can embrace who they are and their differences.”