There’s no disputing that advancement of women remains important. We’ve come a long way in many respects, but there’s still MUCH work to be done.

In particular, much work remains when we consider advancement of women through an intersectional lens. What does this mean? The Canadian Women’s Foundation says: “Advancing gender equality in Canada isn’t just about closing gaps between men and women. People experience different barriers depending on many elements of their identities—things like their sexuality, race, gender identity, ability, and age. Pursuing true equality means recognizing and meeting all peoples’ diverse needs.

In short, the experiences of all women are far from the same given our additional identities. The most effective approach to the advancement of women considers these intersecting identities and associated barriers.

Fittingly, this year’s worldwide theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity.

As many are no doubt aware, Mount Saint Vincent University is the leading and longest-standing university in Canada for the advancement of women. It’s the foundation upon which our university was built 150 years ago, and it continues to be a major focus for us.

Today, we’ve added layers to that foundational commitment, while keeping its core aim. Today, MSVU prioritizes access and impact for all underserved groups. This means supporting all students to achieve their academic goals, including Indigenous students, students of African descent, students with disabilities, mature students, parents, and students in remote communities – because we believe that the world is a better place when a greater diversity of people have access to higher education.

A commitment to access and impact – including in support of women of all identities – will define our university for its next 150 years.


Dr. Joël Dickinson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University