Women’s Day celebration misses mark 0
From left: Actress Perizaad Zorobian, University of B.C. clinical associate professor Dr. Shimi Kang and former Miss World Diana Hayden participate in the Times of India International Women’s Day celebration in Richmond, B.C., on March 2, 2013. (PHOTO AZIZ DHAMANI)
In honour of Friday’s International Women’s Day, the Times of India celebrated the occasion with a gala event at the River Rock Casino last weekend.
While the invitation-only event was touted as a platform to celebrate women’s empowerment, it fell short of stellar due to organizational troubles and a mishmash of themes.
As an event presented by the prestigious Times of India, expectations ran high at it was the Times Group that established the Filmfare Awards in 1954 recognizing artistic and technical excellence in Hindi Film. To this day, these awards are considered India’s Oscars.
The trouble at the Richmond casino started with what organizers described as a technical glitch with the seating plan. Guests loitered in the lobby as organizers tried to accommodate table requests. After everyone was seated the event began.
CBC journalist Belle Puri moderated six panellists that included Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux, Shushma Datt, owner of radio station RJ1200, University of B.C. clinical associate professor Dr. Shimi Kang, actresses Dia Mirza and Perizaad Zorabian, and former Miss World Diana Hayden.
The movers and shakers of the local Indo-Canadian community glittered in their finery as panelists enthusiastically expounded on their lives and accomplishments.
But while the discussion and stories were engaging, there was a decided lack of substance when it came to addressing global women’s issues. Instead, the better part of the evening was dominated by two fashion shows.
Although the outfits were colorful, glamorous and fun, the irony of parading waifish young women at an event celebrating empowerment was hard to miss.
Ultimately, the forum was a wasted opportunity to engage community leaders in meaningful discussion. However, proceeds of the evening did benefit the Minerva Foundation, which provides support and leadership development for B.C. women.
There’s nothing wrong with fun and fashion, but dressing it up as empowerment undermines struggles faced by women in Canada, India and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the event was beautiful — if not empowering.
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