The Mount was one of the first institutions in Canada to specialize in the education of women, and so naturally the celebration of International Women’s Day is an important date on the University’s calendar.

This year International Women’s Day is all the more significant, as 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the day dedicated to remembering and promoting the roles and issues of women in the world.

International Women’s Day was first observed in Eastern Europe in 1911, amidst rallies for women’s rights to vote, be trained, hold public office and end discrimination. Later, in 1919 the day became more widely observed, and in 2000 it was named an official holiday in many countries worldwide.

“This is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and the Mount’s history—founded by the Sisters of Charity for the education, advancement, and equality of women— is even longer,” says Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at the Mount. “We have a great deal to celebrate, including the ongoing commitment of the Mount to women, equity, social justice and peace.”

To add to this year’s celebration, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day will coincide with two other important events on the Mount calendar: the 25th anniversary of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, and the 35th anniversary of Atlantis, a women’s studies journal published by the Mount.

Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies was inaugurated at the Mount in 1986 by the then President Dr. E. Margaret Fulton, Dean of Humanities Dr. Susan Clark, and feminist philanthropist, now The Hon. Senator Nancy Ruth. The purpose of this endowed Chair is to raise awareness about women’s issues and bring distinguished guests to the Mount to discuss the advancement of women.

Dr. Deverell is currently completing her term as the 12th Nancy’s Chair. She is a Gemini Award winning writer, producer, and television host, as well as a director, actress, and an academic. Her contributions to the Mount have included planning the successful Body Image Conference held in November 2010, teaching and inspiring Mount students, and presenting at many public lectures. She is also very involved in planning the International Women’s Day celebrations.

“In these days of cutbacks to public programs that deal with women’s and gender equity issues, we acknowledge the vibrant 25 years of contributions of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies,” says Dr. Deverell. “The health of the Chair was ensured by a generous donation from Senator Nancy Ruth, to promote research, community action and the arts at the Mount, in the Atlantic Region and in Canada.”

Also an important milestone for the Mount is the 35th anniversary of Atlantis, the unique national women’s studies journal.  Atlantis is produced twice annually by the Institute for the Study of Women. It includes peer-reviewed articles focused on women’s issues.

To celebrate these three important dates on the Mount calendar, there will be a series of events from March 5-9, including films, presentations, performances and more. Some events are co-sponsored by Women in Film and Television Atlantic (WIFT-AT), including an inexpensive showing of feature films directed by women at the Park Lane Cinemas on March 5. In addition, Dr. Deverell will be performing her one-woman theatre piece, “Smoked Glass Ceiling”, along with musicians and spoken word artists, as a benefit for the Mount’s women refugee students. 

For more information about the International Women’s Day events visit:

www.msvu.ca/iwdcelebration  or email iwdcelebration@msvu.ca