YWCA Toronto announces ‘Women of Distinction’

Three members of  the Caribbean community are among seven “Women of Distinction” whose achievements are being recognized by the YWCA  Toronto in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.

The YWCA Toronto, Canada’s largest multi-service women’s organization,  announced the names of this year’s  ” Women of Distinction ” on Tuesday.

In making the announcement, YWCA Toronto CEO Heather McGregor said ” it remains as crucial as ever to recognize these achievements of women who have shown unwavering commitment to helping other women and girls.”

“Women’s equality and rights are neither inevitable nor negotiable. To sustain and strengthen them, we need the kind of persistence, passion and intelligence that we salute in the Women of Distinction announced today [Tuesday],” she noted.
The three from the Caribbean community are  Jamaica-born Dr. Marjorie E. Dixon, Denise Dwyer who was born in Britain of Jamaican parents  and  Trinidad-born Ceta Ramkhalawansingh.

Dr. Dixon, a reproductive endocrinologist, is the founder and CEO of Anova Fertility and Reproductive Health Centre in Toronto.Dr. Dixon is a well known advocate for women and the LGBTQ community.

Denise Dwyer is Assistant Deputy Minister of Education and was the first Black woman to be Deputy Director at the Ministry of  the Attorney General and then Legal Director for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. She founded the Black Female Lawyer’s Network  ” to strengthen connections and foster community among Black female lawyers.”

Ceta  Ramkhalawansingh served for three decades as equity and diversity manager at Toronto City Hall . She has spearheaded many initiatives, fighting for women’s equity, anti-racism, heritage protection, and community rights.

The four other ” Women of Distinction ” are Janice Fukakusa, Hibaq Gelle, Connie Walker and Ishita Aggarwal.

Fukakusa, Chair of Ryerson University’s Board of Governors. recently retired as Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). She has played a leading role in the Advancing Women in Leadership Group at RBC.

Gelle, a community mobilizer and advocate for Somali immigrants, is the first Black Muslim woman to be appointed to the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities where she advises the government on policy issues.

Walker is a Senior Reporter at CBC News and has become a leading voice for coverage of Indigenous issues. For over 15 years Walker’s reporting identified critical issues faced by Indigenous communities.

Aggarwal, described as a ” Young Woman of Distinction,” has been encouraging girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs since she started Science4Girls – a high school club.

The seven ” Women of Distinction” will receive their awards at a ceremony at The Carlu in Toronto  on May 18.