Champion for Women in Defence: International Women’s Day 2019

Commodore Rebecca Patterson, Defence Champion for Women
Commodore Rebecca Patterson, Defence Champion for Women

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On Friday, March 8, the Defence Team joins communities around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) – this is our opportunity to recognize the great work of Defence Team women.

At this time of year, we take stock of our progress towards gender equality and honour the contributions of women in Defence, past and present, working in Canada and around the world.

Women have played a significant role in the defence of our country since the Boer War in 1899. For almost 20 years, women have been fully integrated in all occupations and roles in the Canadian Armed Forces. And, we have become a model for international militaries in our approach to keeping personnel safe, particularly in the area of sexual misconduct.

Women are changing the face of the Defence Team. The number of civilian women is increasing, particularly in leadership roles. In 2016 for example, 55% of employees and 46.5% of executives in the Federal Public Service were women (up from 45.6% and 14.7% respectively).

Fundamentally, we recognize the importance of building a Defence Team that reflects the society we serve. We have learned through experience that gender diversity is essential for us to be effective and to address the complex challenges of today’s world.

Women in National Defence have come a long way and we can be proud of the legacy of determination and drive that brought about important changes through persistence, courage, initiative, innovation, and inclusion. The journey towards gender equity is well on its way.

As Defence Champion for Women, I strongly encourage all Defence Team personnel to participate in activities for International Women’s Day and to consider how we can bring about change not just once a year, but every day.

Commodore Rebecca Patterson, Defence Champion for Women

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