Minister of National Defence video message for International Women’s Day

Video / March 8, 2017


On this International Women’s Day, I call on Canada’s Defence Community to commemorate and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Canadian Forces leads by example.

Our women and men in uniform are important ambassadors for Canada. When deployed on operations, they are sometimes the only Canadians that the local populations will ever meet. Think of how inspiring it was for Afghan girls to see Canadian women in uniform leading a combat infantry company, conducting patrols, providing medical care, and having every opportunity open to them to lead and to succeed.

Here in Canada, there are no limits to opportunities for women in Defence.

We now have the largest number of female General and Flag Officers in our history.

The CAF was one of the first military forces to allow women to serve in all occupations and in combat missions.

On the civilian side of the Defence Team, women make up 40 per cent of the Public Service workforce.

Canada contributes to United Nations and NATO discussions on Women, Peace and Security.

And we continue to be called upon to advise nations who are increasing integration and opening opportunities for women in their defence forces.

But we still have work to do.

We have ambitious goals to increase the representation of women across the Canadian Forces and National Defence.

Through Operation HONOUR, we are working together to eliminate sexual harassment and violence from our ranks.

We are using the GBA plus lens to develop policies and procedures that are inclusive and relevant.

And are working to ensure that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces is an environment that fosters respect and inclusion, and encourages success for all.

As we mark International Women’s Day this March 8th, consider how positive change can begin with you.

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