Canadian Leaders in Collaboration with UN Women

Doing Our Part to Abolish Forced and Early Marriage

Many of us have heard the term “forced marriage”; however, some may not be aware of current statistics reflecting a harsh reality: each year 15 million girls and women around the world are forced to marry against their will. This equates to one forced marriage every two seconds. Early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights and severely impacts social and economic development on a global scale. While this is an international crisis, forced marriage is happening in our own backyard as well. Children account for 700 million, while people in the LGBTQ community and women with disabilities are also forced into marriage. Canadian law contains provisions in family, immigration and criminal laws which help to protect citizens from marriage without consent, however, these provisions do not address the longstanding and culturally-accepted practices of other nations.

The United Nations Women Not Yet for the Dress International Gala will help abolish forced marriage, with its important and honourable goals! Proceeds from this event will go directly toward funding a culturally sensitive transition house right here in the Lower Mainland, directed by the Shakti Society. This cause requires vital funding to bring hope and provide resources for the victims, once the marriages are annulled. Considerations for positive change, to ensure an effective transition, include emotional support, access to education, job skills and medical care.

Cover of the South Asian Post featuring Kerri Gibson (seated), organizing Director of Not Yet for the Dress, at the recent Shakti awards.

When our President, Susan Braverman heard about this event, she immediately knew she wanted to support the effort by donating a custom-printed media wall and Canadian and United Nations flags to this event. She said, “These victims need us to speak up for them and give them a voice, which is so important because every young girl deserves a chance at a bright future.” Adding, “I grew up in a household of powerful women and we simply could not miss our chance to help uphold the basic human rights of freedom of expression and education.”

Custom-printed banner in production that Susan donated to Not Yet for the Dress.

Not Yet for the Dress banner

The evening will be filled with top-tier entertainment by multiple Grammy Award winning musicians led by Ricky Kej, enlightenment from global expert Mandy Sanghera, words of welcome by United Nations diplomats and First Nations leaders, an exclusive personalized video by Mme. Sophie Gregoire as introduced by the Honourable Minister Randeep Sarai, Leader of the Pacific Caucus, and a chance to bid on a special surprise from famed Italian goldsmith, Gerardo Sacco, trusted jewelry designer to Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Lady Di.

“This event has been carefully planned over many months, with the ultimate goal to raise the global profile of an important socio-economic cause.” said Kerry Gibson, Organizing Director of the event. “We hope to create momentum for large-scale and global change, and of course, we want to give all event supporters an unforgettable and special evening!”

Join us for a Mediterranean Feast including local wines and a fashion show and stand together with The Flag Shop against early and forced marriage.

For event information:

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