Zahra Dhanani, legal director of Toronto’s Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, was named a 2008 Woman of Distinction in March by the YWCA of Toronto. This award pays tribute to contributions made by Toronto women that help improve the lives of women and girls.
Dhanani was excited to learn that she had won an award in the category of social change. “You don’t go into this work thinking that you’re going to get an award one day. But it’s a fantastic addition to your life.”
A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, who was called to the bar in 1999, Dhanani has devoted her legal career to advocating for women. Her work has included stints as a staff lawyer with the Barbra Schlifer clinic, a Toronto organization that assists female victims of violence; working with the eating disorder clinic Sheena’s Place on body image problems among minority women; and running the No Means No campaign as
an undergrad at the University of Ottawa.
Dhanani is currently pursuing an LL.M. in alternative dispute resolution at Osgoode Hall and moonlights as a DJ. She feels DJing is just another aspect of her activism, blending music and politics: “I’m a bit of a performer,” she says. “I feel like I’ve always had other ways of getting to my social justice ends.”