Women in the Canadian Military

10 The Forces Today The role of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) today is to defend Canada’s security, interests, and values, and to contribute to international peace and security. During the early- to mid-2010s, the recruitment of women stagnated, and women left their positions at a slightly higher rate than men. In response, the CAF established recruitment and retention strategies that sought to increase the number of female personnel by one per cent annually, with a goal of reaching 25 per cent representation by 2026. By February 2020, women made up 16 per cent of CAF personnel. Today, women in the Canadian Forces fill all roles men have traditionally occupied. Women’s participation rates in the Canadian military are still lower than men’s, and women are not represented equally across the field, but much has changed since the 1950s, when women were first permitted to serve in peacetime. Equal opportunity exists, and the numbers of women taking advantage of that opportunity continues to grow. 1. Divide into small groups to work collaboratively. In your group, pick an element of the modern CAF (e.g., Navy, Reserves, Intelligence) to trace women’s participation. Do some research to learn about the history and current state of your chosen area. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia for related resources, click on links within the article(s) you read, and use supplementary resources (such as government websites). • Take notes on significant developments, people, and events while researching. • If available, read related Memory Project Archive profiles. 2. Using the notes from your research, develop a timeline of important developments in the involvement of women in your chosen area, from women’s first involvement to the present. If you don’t know specifics, look at important events that occurred during your time frame and create a broad overview. • Add important historical information from your research to the timeline that connects to women’s involvement. 3. Make a posterboard display of your timeline and share with the class. EXTENSION ACTIVITY After completing the timeline, write a page summarizing the development of women’s involvement in your chosen area, and include a reflection on the current standing of women in this area considering the challenges they face today. One of the most gender-diverse parts of today’s Canadian Forces is the Canadian Rangers, a unique component of the Army Reserves. About 5,000 Canadian Rangers, many of whom are Indigenous, live in more than 200 remote, isolated, and coastal communities. More than 20% of Rangers are women. They provide the army with experienced eyes and ears on the ground to support national security and public safety in these areas. 1. Watch the video on the Canadian Rangers and read the Canadian Rangers article on The Canadian Encyclopedia. Answer the following questions: • What sort of operations do the Rangers perform? How do these differ from other branches of the army? How are they similar? • What cultural values are important to Sgt. Tsannie in her work as a Ranger? Why do you think these values are important, and how are they reflected in her work? 2. Make a list of three values that are important in your classroom or in your culture. • How do you use them in your everyday life? • If you were a Ranger in your own community, how would these values inform the way you do your job, the way the command structure works, and the way you communicate with others in your community while you served? 3. Share your responses in small groups, discussing the similarities and differences between your answers and taking notes. 4. Return to your responses to the questions at the beginning of this activity. Write a short article on one element of the Canadian Rangers you came upon in the video or the article (e.g., organizational structure, responsibilities). Use notes taken from your small group discussion to expand your initial response. You may wish to do additional research while writing your article, using sources such as CBC News or the Government of Canada website. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Canadian Arctic Sovereignty Canadian Armed Forces ACTIVITY #12 WOMEN IN THE MILITARY TODAY ACTIVITY #13 THE CANADIAN RANGERS Lt Marie-Pierre Dion at a ceremony unveiling a new monument dedicated to the Canadians who fought and died during the Second World War, in Chambois, France, 4 June 2019 (DND/CAF/ Combat Camera/MCpl PJ Letourneau). MCpl Johanna Flawn gathers photograph intelligence to help build maritime situational awareness in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 August 2019 (DND/CAF/Combat Camera/Cpl Braden Trudeau).