Great Women Productions


Changing culture - one woman, one  wall, at a time. That's the work of Great Women Productions, and The Great Women Portrait Project.

Based in Nova Scotia, the business and project was founded by artist, author, certified art therapist and former tech journalist Jo Napier when she realized she had no 'Great Women' stories to tell her young daughter.


'My daughter was little, I was reading her bedtime stories, and wanted to tell her about the 'Great Women' - specifically the great women of Nova Scotia.  As she grew older, and took an interest in chemistry, I wanted to tell her about the great women of STEM.

'In both instances, no great stories bubbled up - besides Marie Curie - despite 10 years as a journalist, and several as a tech columnist during the dot.com days. That uncomfortable realization - that half our history, the female half - was missing from my consciousness - was the spark that created my Great Women Productions portrait business.'

A woman-led, sole proprietorship based in Halifax Nova Scotia, Great Women Productions (GWP) takes an ‘everyday approach' to changing the culture: creating portraits and art installations that reflect the female face of innovation. "Portrait art broadens our awareness of  what 'women's work' really is. I think if we knew our real history, the full story - if we knew the powerful paths women have forged in traditionally male-dominated domains - girls could have a natural sense of ownership in areas of work and study like chemistry, finance, engineering. And boys and men would see the power and value of having women I the mix - of inclusion and simple justice and reason in embracing gender equality. Skip the training courses, I say; hang a great woman's portrait instead, in an office or some public space. 

Behavioural science shows this simple act can shift mindsets in ways that training courses and DEI workshops won't - simple because it shows what is really valued."

In 2023, Jo and a group of Nova Scotia women started The Great Women Portrait Project, which lets leaders use portrait art to the reveal the female face of innovation in public and professional spaces. 




Jo Napier


After Jo Napier, a former technology journalist (The Ottawa Citizen) and national newspaper columnist (The Globe and Mail), became a mom, she found herself at home for the first time in years. In between diapers and meals, she started painting... and discovered that the history she was aware of failed to include something. Women. Women's stories. Women's accomplishments. Women's work.

As a former national newspaper columnist,  documentary cassociate producer, and technology author, Jo had interviewed the Internet’s seminal thinkers and pioneers for a PBS series, two PBS documentaries, and a book, Technology With Curves (Harper Collins).  "I kept wondering: where are the women's stories? How is our increasingly digital world being influenced by women, too?"

Her research - and a growing sense of responsibility to show her daughter the faces and stories of Great Women - led to her first collection of large-scale, contemporary portraits. The collection was acquired by The Royal Bank for their national art collection, and the this booklet was created to capture the stories of these Great Women. (See some of the portraits HERE)

Today, Napier works with creates Great Women portraits for private and public sector clients that, primarily, reflect pioneers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), finance and medicine.

In January 2023, she launched The Great Women Portrait Project, which encourages female leaders in diverse industries to use portrait art to advocate for women, educate this generation and inspire the next. 

"I want to create a constellation of collaborators. Women, and men, who want to reveal the female face of innovation to this generation and the next."


More about:

The Great Women Portrait Project 



Artist/Author/Certified Art Therapist Jo Napier

Creator, The Great Women Portrait Project 


"Women's history is half the history... but we weren't taught it. That omission is an opportunity toeducate and to inspire; to change mindsets by revealing the hidden half of history and the 'female face' of innovation to this generation, and the next."


 [BELOW... portrait in progress of Great Woman and West Coast firebrand feminist/physician Dr. Marie Equi...]

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