Dear members of the Acadia community,
Although we celebrate International Women's Day today, I hope you join me in recognizing that our society relies on women every single day. To each and every one of you, we say thank you.
I only need to look at my own life experiences and the women who taught and mentored me, and those who now support and work alongside me to recognize women's immense contributions. While women's contributions are being increasingly recognized and valued, there is still much work to be done – not only in other countries but here as well. Gender discrimination, violence against women, and misogyny are still a part of our world. Sadly, the global pandemic has disproportionately exacerbated the challenges women face.
Still, I remain hopeful and committed to change. I want my daughter and all women to live in an equal world, judged by their abilities rather than their gender. No woman should be discouraged from pursuing her dreams. Together, we need to celebrate women's achievements, challenge biases, and take action for equality.
While so much has improved since our first female graduate, Clara Belle Marshall, received her degree in 1884, there remains much work ahead. Just as she challenged the norms of her day to seek the same educational advantages as men, we must challenge societal norms that perpetuate discrimination and violence and create barriers for equal opportunity and success.
It makes me proud that Acadia is one of 17 institutions taking part in a national pilot program called Dimensions. The program seeks to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in research at post-secondary institutions. In the Acadia 2025 Strategic Plan, Transforming lives for a transforming world, the tenets of diversity, inclusivity, equity, and respect are paramount in our values. An inclusive and supportive community is also a fundamental part of our Strategic Direction, Caring for our students and employees.
Initiatives such as these will help us address discrimination and bias in our campus community and contribute to a stronger, more diverse culture across Canada. Yet, we must also act as individuals. Let International Women's Day be an outward promotion of what we can do daily, not just reserved for one day in the year or even a few days or weeks each year. Please make it so every day of every year.
Please learn more by visiting the International Women's Day website and telling your friends and colleagues what you #ChoosetoChallenge on #IWD2021 and all the following days of your lives.
Dr. Peter Ricketts
President and Vice-Chancellor