Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and I find myself celebrating all the wonderful achievements women have made over the years. And of course, being a woman in the forces, I can’t help but reflect on the way the military has changed as well. Initially, women weren’t allowed to do tours on ship because women’s quarters didn’t exist! Women couldn’t serve in combat roles because there was this perception that they couldn’t keep up to the men. And there were no female pilots. Yes, a lot has changed.
In 1989, the Canadian Forces changed their rules, allowing women to serve in the Navy. Today, Canada is one of a handful of countries that allows women to work in combat roles, which means that now every occupation is open to both males and females. Women now have choice. Selection. Equality.
Today, women make up just over 15 percent of our total forces. We are Generals, Colonels, Officers, Non-Commissioned members, doctors, gunners, infantry troops, clerks and leaders. However, I look forward to a day when there is no more discussion about women in the military. Hopefully, we can get to a point where no one gives it a second thought. Our accomplishments as women will no longer make up a bunch of firsts, but rather, will be a series of many. I know we will get there.
Inevitably, I feel indebted to those women who paved the way for me and many others. So thank you to all the wonderful women, all over the world, who have made it possible for all of us to achieve so much. Your courage, strength, and ability to challenge the status quo have led to many women working in powerful positions, in both the military and civilian jobs alike.