YWCA Toronto's 2016 Women of Distinction Awards May 26, 2016

Over one thousand to hear, herald game-changers who work to win women's equality rights

TORONTO, May 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Eight remarkable women working to advance women's equality will take centre stage this Thursday evening, May 26 to accept their YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction awards. 

A capacity crowd will hear powerful personal stories of collective impact from women who pushed through barriers to champion the rights of Indigenous people, to pioneer medical services for  women with HIV/AIDS, to reform sex education curriculum in Ontario, increase women's representation in corporate leadership, and build violence-against-women programs in colleges in Toronto and in northern Ontario.

Other members of this year's inspiring slate of YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction have secured landmark legal rights for women and have guaranteed that women and girls in some of the poorest regions of the world will get education and opportunities for economic independence.   "The achievements of YWCA Toronto's Women of Distinction are highly relevant to issues now being debated on air, online and around people's dining-room tables -- discussions that demonstrate the need for more violence prevention, dedicated support for marginalized women and open doors so women can participate fully in strengthening their lives and communities," said YWCA Toronto CEO Heather McGregor.


YWCA Toronto's 36th Women of Distinction Awards, presented by Sun Life Financial and hosted by CBC Toronto's Marivel Taruc www.womenofdistinction.ca


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reception and market-style dinner: 5:30pm

Awards ceremony: 7:00pm

Dessert and after-party: 8:30pm


The Carlu, 444 Yonge Street, 7th Floor, Toronto


NOTE: For interview and photo opportunities onsite from 5pm on, please contact smackinnon@ywcatoronto.org; 416.660.9483 (mobile); 416.961.8101, ext. 326.

The Women of Distinction Awards celebration is YWCA Toronto's largest annual fundraising event.  Proceeds help girls, women and their families escape violence, move out of poverty, and access safe affordable housing. The largest multi-service women's organization in Canada, YWCA Toronto supports more than 12,000 women in over 30 programs across the city.

YWCA Toronto's 2016 Women of Distinction

  • ROBERTA L. JAMIESON (President's Award)
    First Nations leader, highly acclaimed public figure and CEO of Indspire, Roberta has spent five decades in numerous breakthrough positions advocating for change and justice for Indigenous people and Canada.

  • TESSA HILL and LIA VALENTE (Young Women of Distinction)
    Tessa Hill and Lia Valente were 13 when they took on rape culture as a documentary project and turned it into a successful public campaign bringing sexual consent into Ontario's health education curriculum.

  • COLLEEN JOHNSTON (Corporate Leadership)
    This senior executive from TD Bank Group and women's leadership guru has successfully championed stronger representation of women in corporate leadership, which helped to significantly increase the number of women in TD's executive ranks.

  • GEORGIA QUARTARO (Education)
    Georgia created innovative education programs and violence-against-women training that reaches women and marginalized groups who have experienced trauma and helps them rebuild their lives following violence.

  • REETA ROY (International Development)
    Reeta Roy saw that opportunities and conditions for girls and women farmers in African countries were disturbingly unequal to men's. The MasterCard Foundation she heads guarantees that at least 50 percent of program participants are women and girls.

  • ELIZABETH SHILTON (Law and Justice)
    Elizabeth argued before the Supreme Court to uphold the rape shield law; won a pay equity case ending wage inequities; defended the right of sexual assault survivors to keep their names out of the public eye; and prevented the disclosure of counselling records of sexual abuse survivors. Her recent work is in equality-driven law reform for income security and retirement systems.

  • DR. CHERYL WAGNER (Health)
    When HIV/AIDS first hit women, Dr. Cheryl Wagner was one of the first – and few – Toronto physicians to whom they could turn for expertise, help and health care. She extended her work to include researching and advocating for services to address their distinct needs.



Image with caption: "YWCA Toronto (CNW Group/YWCA Toronto)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160525_C7393_PHOTO_EN_699551.jpg

For further information: For interview and photo opportunities onsite from 5pm on, please contact smackinnon@ywcatoronto.org; 416.660.9483 (mobile); 416.961.8101, ext. 326.


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