Shattering Identity Bias: Mona Shindy's Journey from Migrant Child to Navy Captain and Beyond
by Mona Shindy
In the early seventies, a tiny three-year-old girl stood watching suitcases gliding by on the baggage carousel while hundreds of strangers bustled and jostled, all in a hurry. She’d just landed after a 22-hour flight from Cairo, through Changi and on to Sydney, with her two brothers and her mother. “Aida!” a familiar voice called her mother’s name. Then, “Monameeno!” her father cried and Mona was ‘home’. Captain Mona Shindy’s story is one of love, faith, courage, tenacity and, at times, of extreme bias. She takes the reader through her childhood, growing up in Sydney with hardworking immigrant parents who wanted nothing more than for their children to do well in life and be happy. From an early age, Mona travelled the paths less trodden – not only by women, but by women of Muslim faith. At the age of twenty, she joined the Australian Navy – one of few women and the first female of Muslim faith to wear the navy uniform. As an engineer, her 32-year career of active service with the Navy saw Mona rise through the ranks, leading many sailors and officers both at sea and ashore. She spearheaded organisations charged with developing, delivering and sustaining Navy assets, state of the art weapons systems and technologies. She made an outstanding contribution to Navy and the defence of her nation but, more importantly, she was instrumental in instigating and effecting change when it came to female integration and cultural diversity inclusion within this traditional, white, male-dominated arena. Shattering Identity Bias is Mona Shindy’s story but more than that, it is a story that will give hope and strength to all minority groups. It will help employers better harness the power of diversity and address the challenges that it brings. For every reader, Mona’s story will paint a stark picture of the reality of the world we live in.