International Women’s Day

Just before departing on a day sail in HMCS Edmonton as part of International Women’s Day, Jennifer Gervès-Keen, Nicole Schaaf, LCdr Kristina Gray, Lt(N) Cass van Benthem Jutting, and HCapt(N) Mandy Farmer struck a pose to demonstrate this year’s theme of Better the Balance, Better the World. Photo by SLt M.X. Déry

Just before departing on a day sail in HMCS Edmonton as part of International Women’s Day, Jennifer Gervès-Keen, Nicole Schaaf, LCdr Kristina Gray, Lt(N) Cass van Benthem Jutting, and HCapt(N) Mandy Farmer struck a pose to demonstrate this year’s theme of Better the Balance, Better the World. Photo by SLt M.X. Déry

SLt M.X. Déry, MARPAC Public Affairs Office ~

Maritime Forces Pacific celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) last Friday with a day sail aboard HMCS Edmonton for influential female community members, including Jennifer Gervès Keen, keynote speaker at the Chiefs and Petty Officers’ mess celebration event.

Edmonton’s commanding officer, LCdr Kristina Gray, and Honorary Captain(Navy) Mandy Farmer hosted the event.

“I welcome events like this on my ship that show people, in and outside of the defence community, what we do, how we live, and the lifestyle challenges sailors deal with every day. It allows sailors to demonstrate to the public the professionalism and pride they have in their work in a way that an outsider would never get through a medium like a presentation or video.”

She commanded Edmonton through the second most successful Operation Caribbe deployment since the operation began in 2006. Her ship and crew, with an embarked law enforcement detachment from the U.S. Coast Guard, disrupted 8,700 kilograms of cocaine in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

“Being able to reflect on Edmonton’s success during Op Caribbe in the fall has made me appreciate what a dynamic, tactically challenging operation, in a challenging working environment, the deployment really was,” she said.

Being in a position of command, empowered by the Royal Canadian Navy to get the mission done, is rewarding. But it also comes with the uncomfortable reminder that women in the rest of the world may not have the same rights.

“IWD is important in Canada, but I think it is important to understand what many women face in the rest of the world,” said LCdr Gray. “I was dealing a lot with navies from Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, India, into places where they have never had an interaction with a woman in a power position, because some of those navies don’t allow women in the navy at all, some don’t allow them to go to sea, some aren’t allowed in certain jobs, and it opened my perspective into how different Canada is.”

For HCapt(N) Farmer, IWD is a celebration and an opportunity.

“For me it is a day we celebrate how far we’ve come as women, but more importantly it is the day we get together and talk about how we move towards a world that is a balance of diversity with females in the workplace.”

This year the theme of IWD is “Better the Balance, Better the World” and for HCapt (N) Farmer, it is something she agrees with strongly.

“Better the balance, we need more representation of women in the higher levels of leadership. That is both in the navy and in the business world. Right now, there are more CEOs named John than there are female CEOs.”

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.