Women in warships – a fading big deal

Navy News / May 15, 2019

 By Lt(N) Katrina Giesbrecht

There are currently 23 female sailors onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina. Each of us joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for different reasons, but all of us view ourselves as professional members of the CAF first, and women in the CAF second.

Sometimes we are asked to attend events in order to highlight diversity within our Navy; and we appreciate the chance to share our experiences with the public and our partners in allied navies.

“I joined the Navy almost eight years ago. I really had no idea what to expect as a woman in the military. I’d heard stories of how it was a boy’s club and how ‘boys will be boys’, but in my experience that hasn’t really been the case at all,” said Leading Seaman Dana Kimoto when she was asked about being a woman in the military.

“I’ve found the military to be more respectful and equal than other jobs I’ve had. Being able to visit countries where women’s rights are not as advanced, and occasionally interacting with women in other navies, has made me appreciate the freedoms we have as women in the Canadian military.”

Navy newcomer Master Corporal Amy Kingston was struck by the Navy’s motto: “a sailor first.”

“In all activities governing the operation of the ship, be it replenishment at sea, part ship hands or storing ship, all hands are on deck with the sole consideration of carrying out duties safely and efficiently. Gender, age, and all other demographic markers do not come into play when accomplishing these tasks,” said Kingston.

“Experience and leadership are the sole criteria that decides who makes the requisite calls. There is an explicit regard and respect for all which makes serving in Regina a fulfilling and rewarding endeavour, regardless of whether one belongs to a demographic majority or minority.”

In short, the common thread that runs through almost every conversation about being a woman in the Navy is that while it is not always easy, it is never boring, and we continue to progress with integration in an organization where there is no gender-based wage gap, and everyone is offered equal opportunity for advancement.