It feels a little cheeky to celebrate Eid. I didn’t fast with you, but I get to celebrate with you? Sure, you celebrate Christmas and Easter with me… but I didn’t really DO anything to earn those celebrations. Although I’ve come to suspect that Ramadan might be more about partying all night than about fasting all day- for some!

Still, I will celebrate despite my slight niggling discomfort at being an outsider, the same way I do at NAIDOC and Diwali and Chinese New Year. I’ll ignore that sense that I’m intruding.

A word to each of my Muslim friends:

Some days your religion gets a bad rap, other days my religion gets a bad rap. But I’m not a paedophile and you’re not a terrorist. My life is richer for having you in it, for ALL that makes up who you are. Your experiences, your values, your strength and humility, your courage your humour and your kindness. Many of your values stem from the generosity and the respect of the faith that you observe. So I celebrate it too. Happy Eid my friend.

How To Celebrate?

The kids have already started. They’ve rolled balls of dried fruits in plates of crushed nuts, they’ve baked cookies and the usual sweets recipes we use have been adapted to incorporate lollies without the pig fat. They have coloured in stars and moons and temples the way they do hearts at Valentines Day and red lanterns at Chinese New Year.

The whole of the Gender Gap Gone team work remotely and flexibly. Friday I’ll be spending part of my day away from the office, to bake. I’ll be dipping strawberries into chocolate and making the most delicious little nut cookies – I’m going to drop that recipe in below because despite it being not very corporate-blog-like, it’s SOOO quick and SOOO good, and dairy and gluten free 🙂

Sunday and Monday we will do a little round trip of neighbours and friends who celebrate Eid, to deliver our baskets of home-made goodies and coloured in pictures, to convey our warm wishes.

How To Celebrate At Work?

23% of the world’s population are Muslim. Not all of them are comfortable advertising the fact they’re Muslim, because they experience backlash and other people’s fear.

Also, not all Muslims will have been fasting through Ramadan, just as I didn’t always remember to avoid meat on Fridays/ chocolate always during lent. (Sorry Mum!)

Perhaps next year I’ll be more helpful and provide a blog before Ramadan commences about how you can be sensitive to those who are fasting for the 30 days that leads up to Eid. If a colleague is doing the 40-hour famine, for example, you may think twice before organising a lunch meeting- you might choose a regular office setting instead. Same goes.

In Sydney for 2017 the fast is broken at 5pm. That means your fasting colleagues haven’t eaten since 5am, or before they went to bed the night before. They’re probably very, very hungry. Best not to arrange a 5pm meeting, right when they’re finally able to pray and eat.

I’m not suggesting all Muslims will want a 4pm finish time during Ramadan, simply that it’s a good idea to consult with your team members about what’s important to them. Every Muslim will practice their faith differently just as individual Jews and Hindus will make their own faith choices. Embracing diversity is about embracing individuals. So check in with the individuals and see what works best for them.

For Eid itself, perhaps everyone can bring in a dish or share lunch together on Monday. Or maybe the Muslims in your workplace may have alternate suggestions- either to celebrate or to not. Our work colleagues become family. Let’s take every opportunity to honour that connection.

Happy Eid to all of you.


Cath Nolan

Cath is MD at Gender Gap Gone, working with Careers Leadership and Corporate Diversity. See more on our Brave Leadership Program HERE.

Those delicious little but cookies

Take 2 heaped handfuls of almond meal, mix in a bowl with one handful of caster sugar. Add 2 egg whites and stir it all together. It’ll be super gooey.

Roll into balls, about 2/3 of a golf-ball size… about a tablespoon each.

Dip them into a plate that has another egg white, then roll them in pistachios or slivered almonds or pine nuts. If your mixture is extra gooey, they’ll spread on the trays. If your mixture is more like a paste, they’ll stay in ball shapes.

Bake at about 170 for about 12 minutes. When the outside nuts toast to golden, you’ll know they’re ready.