CANBERRA - Labor's Fatima Payman has encouraged girls who decide to wear the hijab to do so with pride in her first address to the Senate, writes SBS News.
The 27-year-old, who is the daughter of a refugee from Afghanistan, is the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman in Australia’s federal parliament. She is also the youngest member of this parliament, and the first Afghan-Australian to be elected.
Senator Payman will deliver her official maiden speech in September, but used the address to reflect on her journey to parliament.
“A hundred years ago, let alone ten years ago, would this parliament accept a woman choosing a hijab to be elected?” she said in the Senate. Senator Payman said it was welcome progress to see parliament starting to reflect the “true diversity” of Australia.
The senator for Western Australia also addressed her status as the first parliamentarian to wear the hijab, saying she hoped her journey could inspire others.
“For those who choose to judge me on what I should wear or judge my competency based on my external [appearance], know that the hijab is my choice,” she said.
“I want young girls who decide to wear the hijab to do it with pride and to do it with the knowledge that they have the right to wear it.
I won’t judge someone wearing boardies and flip-flops across the street. I don’t expect people to judge me for wearing my staff.”