Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 08, 2012 08:00 ET

Minister of National Defence Statement on the Occasion of International Women's Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 8, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement on the occasion of International Women's Day:

"From coast to coast to coast, and around the world, organizations, communities and individuals are recognizing women's progress and achievements as part of International Women's Day events. The Canadian Forces are a world leader in terms of the proportion of women in its military and the areas within which they may serve. The Canadian Forces take pride in being a leader in the field of equality and women's rights.

Today is a day to celebrate the rich contributions women have made throughout Canada's military history. It's a day to promote the accomplishments and advancement of women in the Canadian Forces.

Women in Canada's military have pushed the bar forward. Women are serving alongside their male counterparts in non-traditional professions.

Throughout the Canadian Forces' contribution to Afghanistan, women worked as combat engineers, drove heavy transport and armoured vehicles along dangerous routes during day and night convoys; they operated armoured vehicles and weaponry in battle. Canadian women led combat missions as infantry, artillery and armoured soldiers and officers.

Women flew armed helicopters day and night in combat roles transporting troops and equipment about Afghanistan's battlefield; they provided close air escort and reconnaissance support to our ground forces. On recent operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Charlottetown's air detachment was commanded by a woman. And, recently, a young airwoman became the Royal Canadian Air Force's first female CC-177 Globemaster pilot.

In the Mediterranean Sea, many women have served aboard Royal Canadian Navy ships in support of Operation Active Endeavour, the NATO counter-terrorism mission in the region.

I thank the women of the Canadian Forces for their service, as well as recognize them in their multiple roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and spouses. Their service here at home makes them strong role models within their communities and to Canadians. Their service abroad sends a signal of hope to girls and women living in societies where equality remains a challenge. As such, today is also a day to reflect upon the societal values the Canadian Forces embodies, and those for which it fights: diversity, equity and freedom of choice for all."

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