Women can achieve anything with the Navy

People stand on a ship's deck as it navigates wavy waters.
Women and girls of all ages were on board HMCS Ottawa brow on January 27 for a day sail around Vancouver’s harbour and the Strait of Georgia. Photo: MARPAC Imaging

Tags: | | |

Peter Mallett, Lookout – CFB Esquimalt

The Canadian Armed Forces’ efforts to beef up the number of women in the military received the support of the Achieve Anything Foundation in early February, with events organized aboard HMCS Ottawa in Vancouver.

Approximately a hundred and twenty women and girls of all ages crossed HMCS Ottawa’s brow on January 27 for a day sail around Vancouver’s harbour and the Strait of Georgia. For most, this was a first encounter with a Canadian warship and its crew.

Sailors were prepared for their guests with special displays in the hangar and throughout the ship, and an itinerary of tours and demonstrations to keep everyone wide-eyed and asking questions.

The Royal Canadian Air Force provided a Sea King helicopter which flew overhead as part of a search and rescue demonstration.

“Promoting the Navy to future generations is very important to everyone in the Defence Team,” said Commander Alex Barlow, HMCS Ottawa’s Commanding Officer. “Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces brought great pride to the sailors who work aboard Ottawa, and we are hoping those who joined us will share their experiences.”

The Achieve Anything Foundation was formed to create year-round projects and programs to inspire female leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and STEM-based fields such as aviation, aerospace, marine and defence. It was founded by Kirsten Brazier, an aviator with 25 years of experience as a fixed wing aircraft and helicopter pilot.

The 47-year-old founded the registered non-profit in 2016, but its roots go back to 2012, with its signature event The Sky’s The Limit – Girls Fly Too! The annual event, held in conjunction with various partners, is expecting over 20 000 visitors in 2018.

Low numbers of women in senior management or command positions and highly skilled trades in organizations such as the Canadian Armed Forces motivates Ms. Brazier to push for change through positive action instead of rhetoric. She is a big believer in hands-on experience, and concentrates her work on this aspect of promotion.

She marketed the HMCS Ottawa day sail with the slogan: “Ladies come drive this ship.”

“Women are a tough demographic for defence, science and technology industries to crack,” she says. “If you want to get women fired up, you need to make them see that there is a really awesome experience to be had on a warship.”

For more information about Achieve Anything Foundation, upcoming events, or ways to support go to: www.achieveanything.ca.

Date modified: