Sole Woman of Colour on Queensland Law Society Board Reflects on Breaking Barriers

In the heart of Queensland, amidst the bustling legal landscape, Sheetal Deo stands tall as a beacon of change and inclusivity.

With a vision to bridge the gap between legal aid and accessibility, she founded Shakti Legal Solutions, a groundbreaking initiative that champions inclusion and empowerment.

On this International Women’s Day, her story resonates profoundly, embodying the theme of inspiring inclusion.

Canadian-Indian-Fijian Sheetal Deo founded Shakti Legal Solutions, a groundbreaking initiative that champions inclusion and empowerment. Credit: supplied.
Canadian-Indian-Fijian Sheetal Deo founded Shakti Legal Solutions, a groundbreaking initiative that champions inclusion and empowerment. Credit: supplied.

Shakti Legal Solutions is not just a law firm; it’s a revolution in legal services. Embracing a “pay what you can” model, Deo, 35, ensures that legal assistance is not a privilege reserved for the privileged few but a fundamental right for all.

“It doesn’t make sense that these legal services are so inaccessible to everyday people,” she told BACKCOVERNEWS.COM.

“A lot of people needed a hand up, not a handout.”

What sets Shakti Legal Solutions apart is its commitment to community-centric practices.

The Canadian-Indian-Fijian lawyer saw beyond the conventional notions of profitability and envisioned a model where compassion drives commerce.

“I wanted people to know that you can do this kind of work without it being pro bono or for free, and it can be a commercially viable business model,” she said.

However, Deo’s journey goes beyond entrepreneurial success; it’s about representation and breaking barriers.

As the only woman of colour to sit on the board of the Queensland Law Society in its 150-year history, she is a trailblazer challenging the status quo.

“It’s about more than having a seat at the table,” she said. “It’s about meaningfully being able to contribute to the discussions and decisions that are being made at that table.”

READ MORE INSPIRING MIGRANT WOMEN IN BUSINESS STORIES HERE

Her story epitomises the rising tide of women in entrepreneurship, particularly in small businesses. Minister for Small Business, Julie Collins, acknowledges the vital role women play in shaping Australia’s economic landscape.

“As the Small Business Minister, I know it is important to support the growing number of women in small business, including our incredible multicultural women entrepreneurs,” Collins said.

“I have met with many women-founded small businesses who have turned their innovative ideas into reality.

“It is inspiring to see their passion and drive to succeed.”

As Australia celebrates International Women’s Day, the federal government reaffirms its commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs.

Recognising the pivotal role of small businesses in the nation’s economy, the government pledges targetted support and initiatives to ensure their growth and prosperity.

Deo’s journey is a testament to the power of inclusivity and determination. Through Shakti Legal Solutions, she not only provides legal aid but also ignites hope and empowers individuals to navigate life’s challenges.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let her story remind us that true progress is achieved when everyone has a seat at the table, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society.

This article is featured as part of Back Cover News’ Migrant Women in Business Series, coinciding with International Women’s Day 2024.

Shreya Vats

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