International Women’s Day


Ottawa – The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement on International Women’s Day:

“Today, we honour the contributions Canadian women have made—and continue to make—to our military. More than 2,800 Canadian Nursing Sisters served during the First World War, and by the end of the Second World War, more than 50,000 women had served a variety of duties in the air force, army and navy. During the Gulf War 30 years ago, women’s service expanded to include combat roles. All of these women helped open the door for women who serve today.

“We honour women like retired Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class Debbie Eisan,who served for 36 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. Debbie wasn’t only a leader during her career, but has continued that leadership role in the decade since her release, helping to influence the Canadian military on Indigenous and human rights.

Patti Gray joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 and was excelling until she was questioned about her sexuality. Patti was a victim of the LGBT purge. Patti became part of a class action lawsuit to recognize the purge and LGBT rights. In 2017, our Prime Minister formally apologized for practices that led to the oppression and discrimination of the LGBT community. Today, Patti is a proud member of Rainbow Veterans of Canada.

“Please join me in recognizing the extraordinary women who have served in Canada’s military. Women like Patti and Debbie have demonstrated courage and strength in their military service and post-service lives, and in doing so have empowered the servicewomen of today and tomorrow. Their sacrifices and contributions will not be forgotten.”


Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Cameron McNeill
Press Secretary

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