International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on 8 March in many countries around the world as an occasion to globally recognise women’s achievements, as well as for observing and highlighting gender inequalities and issues.

The SHARAN Project has released this statement in support of this Day, inaugurated by the United Nations in 1975. In line with the 2012 theme “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”1, Sharan continues to be part of a civil society movement that demands change for women, especially girls who are even more vulnerable. It works to improve the lives and life chances and towards an inspired future for vulnerable women and girls of South Asian origin – a future free from the shackles of disillusionment and fear.

The SHARAN Project serves and advocates for vulnerable women of South Asian origin, who have forcefully or voluntarily left home due to fear of violence, forced marriage, discrimination. Founded as a social enterprise in 2008, its vision is grounded in securing equality and justice for South Asian women and girls in the U.K., and it works to assist those that are marginalized to lead an independent life free from fear and coercion. The organisation provides support, advice and a safe forum, as well as a range of practical services catered to the needs of the South Asian community. Working towards connecting women to the right services and mentoring aspiring young professionals are amongst some of the ways in which Sharan seeks to look towards opportunities that await future generations of women.

In recognition of those who do still have no voice, Sharan’s recent advocacy and outreach efforts include:

  • BBC London Radio 94.4 FM 4 March 2012

As a Guest speaker on the Sunny & Shay Show, Sharan discussed the impact of Forced Marriage within the South

Asian community and current debate on criminalising the act of forcing a person or persons to marry against their will.

The segment can be accessed here.

  • Inside Out London BBC1 5 March 2012

The Sharan Project contributed towards Shay Grewal’s segment on Inside Out London, which explored whether
making forced marriage a criminal offence would really help girls at risk. The segment can be accessed here.

  •  Interview – The New Statesman magazine.

Polly Harrar, Founder of The Sharan Project talks about setting up the charity, issues faced by South Asian women and role of government and society in addressing gender based inequalities.2

1 “Connecting girls Inspiring Futures” is the theme elected by for 2012

2 This Interview will be made available shortly on the Sharan website.

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