For the first time in Canada, a woman leads the armed forces

Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan

There have been several cases of sexual misconduct in Canada’s army, and Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan fought for a more respectful climate. Now she will lead her country’s armed forces – as the first woman in history.

It is a first for Canada: a woman will lead the country’s armed forces in the future. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Jennie Carignan on Wednesday. “I am confident that as Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff, she will help make Canada stronger, safer and ready to face global security challenges,” he said.

Carignan will take over the leadership of the Defence Staff at a ceremony on July 18, succeeding retiring General Wayne Eyre.

Multiple cases of sexual misconduct in Canada’s armed forces

In recent years, the Canadian military has been rocked by numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. Carignan was tasked with creating a more respectful climate. She became the face of the fight against the toxic climate in the army, as the Canadian state broadcaster CBC

Carignan joined the military in 1986. Her roles included leading troops during floods in Quebec. In 2008, she became the first woman to lead a combat unit in the Canadian military. She also served in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Syria.

According to government figures, the proportion of women in the Canadian army was 16 percent in May 2023. The plan is to increase this proportion to 25 percent by 2026. In addition, Canada’s military is facing a general shortage of recruits.


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