Maryam Monsef launches Women of Impact in Canada Gallery at the Agnes

Minister of Status of Women moderates a roundtable discussion with gallery-featured trailblazers 

Image by: Chris Yao
Left to right: Goodyear-Grant

On Tuesday, Queen’s hosted generations of feminist icons in the Agnes as it launched the Woman of Impact in Canada Gallery.

Minister of Status of Women, Maryam Monsef, led the event and unveiling of the new exhibit, which coincides with Women’s History Month. It outlines the contributions put forth by Canadian women who have made a significant impact to the nation’s history.  

Monsef kicked off the event recognizing contributions from women like Kim Campbell and Margaret Atwood, who are featured in the virtual gallery.  

“These are just some snapshots of a handful of stories of great women whose impact ought to be better understood,” Monsef said.  

The gallery honours the lives and legacies of more than 100 women through a series of photographs, timelines, biographies, and an interactive map available online.  

The exhibit’s theme,  #MakeAnImpact, celebrates the lasting impact made by women and girls from coast to coast. 

Monsef said the gallery isn’t exclusively celebrating impacts made in the past, but is a celebration of contributions women will make in the future too.  

The gallery encourages attendees to “Live On”—a theme proposing the list of women featured in the gallery isn’t complete. It’s a continually evolving gallery, able to grow through nominations submitted by Canadians.  

“To that end, this gallery is a living legacy. The gallery will continue to grow because we’re going to continue to do the work, and we’re going to continue celebrating those who have made an impact—more importantly, we aren’t done making an impact,” Monsef said. 

The launch of the gallery consisted of a panel discussion of four women, three of whom are featured in the gallery.  

The panel included pioneers such as international peace advocate Alaa Murabit, Cuddles for Cancer Founder Faith Dickinson, military trailblazer Louise Fish, and associate professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant. 

The panel discussion was held in the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and hosted by members of Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics Club (QFLIP). 

Moderated by Monsef, the panel discussed the significance behind recognizing women’s achievements throughout Canadian history.  

It diverged into a variety of topics, ranging from overcoming gender-based obstacles to the now infamous #MeToo movement.  

Faith Dickenson discussed the interplay of her age and gender as a challenge she faces throughout her work.  

She described instances where she’s “not been taken seriously” and has been “knocked off” in serious discussion.  

“It’s very frustrating because I feel like I’m older … and I feel that I belong, but some people don’t see it that way,” Dickenson said. 

In a discussion of international women’s rights, as well as the #MeToo movement, Dr. Alaa Murabit discussed the obstacles faced by women when in the process of establishing a legal foundation.  

“Before [legal norms] become law, they become social and cultural norms. Until those women are at the table of those traditional, religious cultural decision-making processes around the world, including Canada, we’re not going to make an impact,” she said.   

As the event closed, Monsef expressed gratitude for the gathering and the continued celebration of women, encouraging audience members to honour the women featured in the gallery in their daily lives. 

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