To the MSVU community,
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020, I write to remind of the importance of celebration and perseverance.
On this day, the world will join in spotlighting the invaluable contributions of women.
At Mount Saint Vincent University, there are countless individual women – students, faculty, staff, alumnae, honourary degree recipients, board members, supporters and friends – who have had tremendous and trail blazing impact across disciplines. Their diversity is as vast and valuable as the realms in which they work. A scan of our news feed will connect you with many of their stories.
Our collective impacts have been numerous too.
• MSVU is home to the first Women’s Studies Department at a Canadian University.
• Our McCain Centre is the only building on a Canadian university campus dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women.
• The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice at MSVU annually hosts one of the region’s largest gatherings for girls and young women.
• We are home to Canada’s only University-based business development resource centre for women.
• We are one of only 17 Canadian universities to be part of the Tri-Agency’s Dimensions Pilot Project to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in research.
• The NSERC Women in Science and Engineering Chair for the Atlantic Region, Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, calls MSVU her university home.
• For decades now, our Nancy’s Chair holders have dedicated efforts to addressing women’s issues.
And every one of our university’s 13 presidents has been a woman.
On this day, we are also reminded that while progress has been made, there is more to be done. For our world to be its best, gender equality is a must. Women’s participation in society is still not equal. And women and girls are still far more likely to be victims of violence.
We must all thoughtfully challenge the status quo. Fight stereotypes. Unite in our efforts. Put inclusivity and diversity first.
And we must use the opportunities afforded us to advance the lives of others. We are privileged participants in higher education, and as such have a responsibility to foster opportunity for those for whom barriers remain significant.
As Hillary Clinton said as she received an honorary degree at MSVU in June of 1995: “We should be grateful for what we have in Canada and the United States, but we also must be vigilant to raise our voices on behalf of education and to raise them specifically on behalf of educating girls and women. I want to thank this University and all who support it for giving not only voice but life to that mission.”
This International Women’s Day, raise your voice on behalf of all women.
Together, we can achieve a powerful crescendo.
Dr. Mary Bluechardt
President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University
This International Women’s Day, celebrate an extraordinary woman in your life who has inspired you through her commitment to community, family or profession.
Honour her with a leaf on the Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour.