From the women who joined the Canadian Forces during the First World War to the women who serve in all branches of the military today, women have made major contributions to Canada’s Armed Forces. This resource kit seeks to engage students in exploring stories from women who have served, and to critically reflect on Canadian women’s experiences at war using resources from the Memory Project Archive and The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Canada has been involved in wars and conflicts throughout its colonial history. Just as the nature of these conflicts has changed over time, so, too, has the nature of women’s involvement. While the impact and necessity of women’s contributions on the home front are not to be understated, this guide focuses primarily on the experiences of women in the forces.

Canadian women have actively participated in war as part of the Canadian military since the 20th century, from nursing and driving during the First and Second World Wars to today’s increasing involvement of women in the regular forces. While the participation rate of women in the Canadian military is not equal to that of men, nor are women equally represented in all trades, much has changed since the earliest days of (partial) inclusion. This guide will share some stories and allow you to explore women’s experiences and perspectives over the past century.