Girls 2012 Web Banner2(Halifax, NS) – International Women’s Day (IWD) was first observed in 1911, a time when women were rallying for the right to vote, to be trained, to hold public office and to end discrimination. Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) was one of the first higher education institutions in Canada to specialize in the education of women, and remains committed to honouring and celebrating their achievement.

The Mount’s Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice has taken the lead on organizing the Girls 2012 Conference, taking place on March 8 and 9. Close to 300 delegates will explore the many issues faced by girls, and will range in age, ethnic diversity, and occupation from girls (and boys) ages 12 and up to educators, mentors, guidance counselors, academics and representatives from organizations that work with girls and for girls.

“This is the Institute’s showcase project of the year,” says Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, who will complete her term in June as the 12th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, a major supporter of the conference. “The program speaks to our publications, seminars, readings and exhibitions. The content will be provocative. The outcome, transformative.”

The conference program will feature music, art, dance, film reviews and discussions, and more than 30 engaging workshops covering topics that include body image, sexual assault awareness, safe schools for LBGTQI youth, activism, feminism, social media as a tool for girls, women in politics and participating in sport and physical activity. The delegates will also participate in social events to foster networking, storytelling, and confidence-building.

“It is so important to encourage and support girls,” says Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Atlantic NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and Associate Professor (Biology) at the Mount. On March 9, Dr. Franz-Odendaal will host a panel discussion with female role models in science, math and engineering “Women are a large part of the work force, and skilled women translates into better communities. We need more young women be aware of the vast opportunities that exist for them in under-represented fields of engineering, science and technology careers.”

An evening concert will be open to the public on March 8 (7:00 – 8:30p.m.) in the Seton Auditorium. For concert goers not registered for the conference, a five-dollar admission charge will be collected at the door. Hosted by El Jones, performances will include Shauntay Grant, All Nations Drummers, Desiree Adams, Tanya Davis, Mary-Grace Koile and Suneetra Karma-Singh.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day and the Girls 2012 Conference, the Institute will be releasing two publications: the 25th Anniversary Nancy’s Chair Collection and a new, hard-copy edition of the national women’s studies journal, Atlantis.

About Mount Saint Vincent University
Recognized as a leader in flexible education, applied research, and a personalized approach to education, Mount Saint Vincent University has been nationally recognized among undergraduate universities in Canada for our success in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants and for having one of the lowest student-to-professor ratios. The Mount is committed to providing the best university experience for all members of our community and to developing thoughtful, engaged citizens who make a positive impact on their world. For additional information about the University, visit

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For more information, contact:

Trevor Corkum
Communications & Marketing
(902) 457-6439