“We need to continue action on equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives beyond simply checking a box, and continue towards affecting long-lasting and meaningful change for ALL people.”
2022 Top 30 Under 30
Which SDGs are you most passionate about and Why?
I am passionate about SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG 11: Sustainable Communities, and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions in the context of the legal profession. I am a racialized Muslim young mother who comes from a lower socioeconomic background with immigrant parents. I struggled with my mental wellness after the loss of my mother shortly after my daughter was born during my articling year as a lawyer. Having these intersecting identities and experiences while practicing as a lawyer makes me passionate about reducing gender inequality in the legal field, advocating for racial inequality, combating mental health stigma, and promoting access to justice. I am a practicing lawyer and a part-time Masters of Law Student at the University of Calgary, where my focus is to apply critical race theory in administrative law to address racial bias. I have also been involved with the Canadian Bar Association’s National and Alberta branches and the Law Society of Alberta as an advisor on equity, diversity, and inclusion while developing webinars on these issues.
What issues are you most passionate about and what inspires you to take action?
I am passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession with a focus on the intersectionality of race, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, and disability. I had spoken and written about the importance of anti-racism and anti-discrimination education in continuing legal education and spearheaded an equity, diversity, and inclusion webinar series through the CBA Alberta EDI Committee last year when I was Co-chair. The focus of this webinar series was promoting anti-racism education, bystander intervention training, and allyship in the legal workplace. I have been active in community outreach, anti-racism, and equity/diversity work in the community. As a young lawyer and young mother recently called to the bar, I have made sure to share my passion for promoting and bettering the lives of racialized and gender-diverse lawyers while being open about mental health and work-life balance.
How have your communities and those around you helped you to take action and make a difference?
All the members of organizations I volunteer with have helped me take action and make a difference. For instance, when I had an idea to put on an EDI webinar series through the CBA Alberta EDI Committee, my Committee members and the other organizations I volunteer with outside of the CBA referred me to organizations I could partner with for each webinar in the series. These partnerships allowed me to be able to organize truly educational and valuable seminars on these issues while also connecting me with some wonderful speakers to invite.
What do partnership and collaboration mean to you in your life and your work?
Collaboration is integral to moving towards equity in the legal profession. Prior to being elected to the CBA Alberta Board, I was the Co-Chair of the CBA Alberta EDI Committee, where I conceptualized and spearheaded a webinar series focusing on anti-racism education, bystander training, and allyship in the legal workplace. I brought this series to light by fostering collaboration between CBA Alberta and other organizations I am involved with (FACL Western and WILL Awards) and have developed connections with (Anti-Racism Bookshelf and Centre for Sexuality). I could not have launched this series without their partnership and collaboration. I have spoken and written about how collaborations—between racialized, gender, disability, and 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations, and the CBA Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta—are required to develop continuing legal education and policies/requirements that address anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and intersectional inequities in the law.
Sania celebrating her graduation from law school with her late mother, Afreen Ahmed, on May 24, 2017.
Sania celebrating her call to the bar with her daughter on August 6, 2019,