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Always in the Minority

Heroes Remember

Always in the Minority

Interviewer: What was it like, through all these ranks and all these opportunities, was the part of being a woman a challenge? It's funny I was having a conversation or I guess a drink recently with of all people, David Chilton, and I had met him in the context of some work that I was doing with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and he was the one who actually said, “Boy, when you joined the military, you were probably a bit of, you would definitely have been in the minority.” And I had to kind of reckon back to I guess I was but through thirty one years of being in the military, you almost start to take it for granted. You are always in the minority such that I stopped thinking of myself as a woman in the military, I just thought of myself as an officer in the military and certainly as I grew in rank probably often I would be maybe the only woman in the room and especially at senior meetings and what not, but it almost became invisible, like you don't, I never thought of it that way but now as I reflect back, it was probably strange, right? And, you know, there would often be cat calls or not cat calls but more things like well she got promoted because she's a woman. Yes, they are just trying to, yes they needed to have so many women promoted. There are those sort of negative comments but at the same time women who were coming up behind you and even today in my current job, they look at me as a role model and see the strength of character and know that that's very important, that you can't listen to those things that other people say. You have to kind of be true to yourself and true to the institution and that's the best gift you can give.

Ms. MacDonald reflects on women in the military.

Jo-Anne MacDonald

Ms. Jo-Anne MacDonald was born in 1960 in Ajax, Ontario. At the age of 18 Ms. MacDonald chose to join the Canadian Forces. Having graduated from high school, Ms. MacDonald realized her passion for sports, adventure and hopes of securing employment, a military career would be the right path for a successful future. In 1979, Ms. MacDonald enrolled in a Regular Officer Training program and accepted her first posting to Comox, British Columbia where she remained for four years and during this time met her husband who was also in the military at the time.. A time when women were unable to attend military college, Ms. MacDonald did her undergraduate degree at a civilian university, spending her summer months in Chiliwack, British Columbia doing basic officer training as well as speciality training in the logistics program and accepted her occupation as a Logistics Finance Officer. Although she considered her process a very traditional career path within this field, Ms. MacDonald was provided many positive and life changing experiences. Ms.. MacDonald eventually accepted a four year posting to Trenton, Ontario reuniting with her husband and being what she considers the best four years of her career. She was part of Wing Controller 8 Wing Trenton and held rank of Major. During this time Ms. MacDonald accepted her first deployment to Nairobi, Africa as part of a recce team. As her career continued, Ms. MacDonald also deployed to Afghanistan holding rank of Colonel (CJ8) under a Multinational NATO led Headquarters unit as financial technical expert. After 31 years of service, Ms. MacDonald retired from the military and continues to work in her field of expertise.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 22, 2013
Person Interviewed:
Jo-Anne MacDonald
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

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