A Day in the Life of Women Serving in the Canadian Navy
I grew up in a military family. My Dad proudly served in the Canadian Air Force for 25 years. This career gave him an expertise, and our family a stable paycheck. Yes, we moved a lot but new schools aside, I loved our life.
It was probably hardest on my mom as she had to pack us all up, leave the house so clean that the floors gleamed, (yes, we had a military inspection), and then help us all to adjust to new communities. Being a kid, it never occurred to me that she also left friends and great jobs behind. Society dictated that she be a good wife. Mom never let on if she felt resentful. She supported Dad’s career with an attitude of ‘here we go, off on another adventure.’ I am grateful to her.
On July 5th, I had the amazing opportunity to experience life on board the HMSC Regina as part of Women Leaders at Sea. When the invitation popped into my email box, I couldn’t respond fast enough! This would give me an opportunity to see our modern military in action, and introduce us to the changed role of women serving our country.
Women are now serving equally alongside men in battle, flying rescue helicopters, or posted to positions in the submarine service and navel ships. By spending the day at sea with VIP’s such as Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Commodore Marta Mulkins, and Honourary Colonel Diane McCurdy, the day gave myself and 100 other professional women the opportunity to see both women and men contribute equally in day-to-day working operations of the ship.
In addition to traditional roles such as medicine, we were introduced to women serving as Engineers, Fire Fighters, Gun Operators, and Military Tacticians. The culture on board the ship was that everyone is equal, with each person playing a part in the safety and security of the ship, along with their team members. We were given tours of the numerous departments of the ship, and experienced how the modern-day military fights, but more importantly, protects and defends. Canadians should be proud that we still encourage our military to serve as peacekeepers.
I am grateful to the Women Leaders at Sea day with the Canadian Navy. It gave me lessons that translate to my business. We saw the navy demonstrate team building and negotiation skills, create a positive and respectful workplace, train in non-traditional careers, and best of all, actively support the belief that women can do any job. It validated that we just need to be given the opportunity, then trained and supported in our roles.
After an amazing day at sea, I now know that there really is, “No life like it!”