Champion’s Message for Women’s History Month 2019

Commodore Rebecca Patterson, OMM, MSM, CD. *** Commodore Rebecca Patterson, OMM, MSM, CD

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October is Women’s History Month, and DND and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are pleased to be joining the international community in recognizing the achievements of women and celebrating their significant contributions throughout history.

Canadian women have not hesitated to step up when called upon to serve their country. They have served in virtually every armed conflict or peacekeeping effort Canada has engaged in during the past century and a half. Women served with distinction in the Boer War and the First and Second World wars. On the home front, Canadian women also made important contributions to the war effort. From holding scrap metal drives, to running the family farm, to taking on important roles in industry. These women not only did their part to contribute to the war effort, but they also shattered traditional gender roles and changed Canada’s workplaces forever.

Post-second world war, women continued to break down barriers in all aspects of society. In the Defence Team, specifically, we have seen women excel across all domains, taking on important roles and making significant contributions in the areas of national and international security, science and technology, search and rescue, and response to natural disasters.

Women’s History Month is about celebrating the achievements of women, but it is also a call to action for gender equality. The CAF was one of the first military forces to allow women to serve in all occupations, and we are continuing this legacy by setting ambitious goals to increase representation of women across all trades and ranks. The number of civilian women in the Defence Team is also increasing, particularly in leadership roles. We are all fortunate to be part of an institution that puts diversity and inclusion among its top priorities, and we must not forget the countless outstanding women—civilian and military—that helped to forge the path that led us to where we are today.

The 2019 theme for Women’s History Month is “Make An Impact”. During the month of October, the Defence Team will be sharing stories of the women pioneers, trailblazers, innovators and leaders who have shaped our institution and our society. If you are interested in learning more about the contributions of women in the Forces, check out this informative timeline of historical milestones of women in the CAF.

As Defence Champion for Women, I invite you to take this opportunity to learn about these incredible women, and to join the celebration by sharing your own stories of women of impact using the hashtag #MakeAnImpact. I also encourage you to reflect on what you can do to make the Defence Team a place where all women can continue to thrive and make a difference.

Commodore Rebecca Patterson, Defence Champion for Women

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