Champion’s Statement: International Women’s Day 2018


Thursday, March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) and DND and the CAF are joining the international community to commemorate IWD 2018, celebrating and recognizing the great work that Defence Team women continue to do and the strides we are making to address challenges. 

Each year, March 8th – and the week in which it falls – provides an opportunity to join together to support, engage, inspire, empower and motivate women across all fields of work, take stock of our progress towards gender equality and to honour the contributions women have made and are making — both in Canada and around the world.

At the same time, IWD is also a time to reflect upon the obstacles that women continue to face and to have discussions on how to address and overcome these challenges by transforming programs, policies and directives into action as we continue our efforts to ensure a culture and environment that values and fosters respect, diversity, inclusion and equality. 

We can be proud of the legacy of determination and drive of Canadian women who brought about important social changes through persistence, courage, initiative, innovation, and inclusion. Today’s Canadian activists and allies are continuing in their footsteps calling out inequality and striving for lasting change in our communities.

This year, IWD comes during an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice.  Sexual harassment, violence, and discrimination against women have captured headlines and public debate, propelled by a rising determination and momentum for change. With global activism for these issues fueled by movements like #MeToo, #Timesup and more, there is global attention and a unified, definitive call for action and change through gender parity, support, response and respectful workplaces that are safe, diverse and inclusive. This requires our collective efforts, response and action as well as shared responsibility for our workplaces and institution. A resilient and valued Defence Team, working together to encourage and foster the potential and contributions of all in a workplace free from harassment and discrimination is paramount to success.

As Defence Champion for Women, I strongly encourage all Defence Team Members to participate in activities for International Women’s Day and to consider how we can effect change in our communities, in our organizations, and in our institution, not just once a year on International Women’s Day, but every day. When we work together to empower women and girls, we help to create an equal, secure and prosperous world. 

Rear-Admiral J.J. Bennett, Defence Champion for Women

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