New billboard celebrating women features only men

Eric Pfeiffer

A Canadian university has launched a campaign to honor women. But there’s one small problem: A billboard advertising the Women’s Wall of Honour project features only men.

The project will be a physical structure built on the Mount Saint Vincent University campus in Halifax. Its organizers call it “the only one of its kind in Canada" and say its "home will be Canada’s leading university primarily focused on the advancement of women.”

Additionally, a description of the project on the Mount Saint Vincent University website explains that financial donors will have the opportunity to honor a woman of their choice by having their names included on a panel used in construction of the project’s site.

So, why is its first major advertisement showcasing men? The Chronicle Herald, which broke the news of the billboard—a photo of it taken by Herald photographer Ryan Taplin has been making the rounds on social media sites like Twitter—explained that it "features Paul Kent, the president and chief executive officer of the Greater Halifax Partnership, former provincial Liberal leader Danny Graham and Rob Batherson, the senior vice-president of public affairs at Colour, an advertising and communications company. Each of the men has donated to the university.”

Mount Saint Vincent University spokesman Ben Boudreau told the paper, “I don’t know that we were really shooting for juxtaposition there, to be honest with you. It was just about reaching a different audience."

The disconnect doesn't appear just on the billboard. The project’s website also prominently features Kent, Graham and Batherson on the top left corner of the page, while a corresponding photo of three women is featured lower and to the right of the page.

However, a page for the project on the Mount Saint Vincent University website is more focused on actual women, as is the group’s Facebook page.