Dr Mehreen Faruqi is the first female Muslim to take a seat in the federal senate. Since migrating from Pakistan in 1992 with her family, Mehreen’s career has flourished – brimming with achievements in both the political and professional context. She prides herself on consistently challenging the status quo and breaking the proverbial glass ceiling.

Graduating with a PhD in Environmental Engineering from UNSW, Mehreen is passionate about sustainability and developing solutions to social and environmental challenges. “I joined the Greens in 2004 because of the Greens’ principles and policies on the environment, climate change, education, social justice, grassroots democracy and strong stance on the rights of indigenous peoples and multiculturalism. These are closely aligned with my own values,” she says. She has pioneered campaigns to ban Greyhound racing, protect Australia’s biodiversity, and oppose the privatisation of roads and public transport. “I believe our community deserves representatives who advocate open, transparent and participatory democracy, and who have community say in decision-making at the heart of their policy and practice.”

Alongside sustainability, Mehreen is also passionate about women’s rights. An academic and activist, Mehreen introduced the first Bill in history to decriminalise abortion in NSW. “I grew up in Pakistan under the guidance of my strongly feminist aunt. I’m pretty fired up to tackle the sexism and gender inequality in Australia and around the world,” says Mehreen. “Social change has always come from massive community movements and helping build these in some small way is a privilege.”

In 2013, Mehreen was awarded the prestigious UNSW Faculty of Engineering Award for Women in Leadership. Mehreen was also voted fifth place on Daily Life’s list of top women who made a difference and inspired Australians – a testimony to her tireless work as one of the nation’s politicians.

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