Well, the first thing that's changed is that women are equals in the Canadian Armed Forces, and when I joined they were not. When I joined the armed forces, I was in this thing called the summer youth employment program. I won't have the numbers exactly right, but there were 150 seventeen- to nineteen-year-old kids, 60 or 70 of whom were invited to join the naval reserve at the end of the summer program. Ten per cent could be women. That's just the way it was. We were allowed to do—and it was the first year it was allowed—only three trades that could go to hard sea trades. That was considered quite adventurous. The naval reserve was doing it; the regular force wasn't; and the other branches of the reserves were not.
Things have changed significantly. The chief of the defence staff has been adamant that the number of women recruited is going to increase by 1% per year. They're working very hard at that. It's, again, about getting out to communities, to schools, and to youth groups to talk to youth about a career in the armed forces and helping them understand the range of careers that are ahead of them. It is not one career when you join the armed forces; it is a range of opportunities, a range of experiences, and it needs a range of people with different skill sets.
It's something I'm quite passionate about, and I think we need to get to young women, in particular, earlier, and not in grade 12 when they're looking at universities or what their career is going to be when they're finished high school. We have to start talking to kids when they're in grade 8 and in grade 10 when they're diverted and distracted by other things. Sitting in a classroom isn't necessarily what inspires them in the course of a day. We want to get to those kids and tell them about the opportunities that are out there for them.
I was that kid and I liked being on the job and learning things. I went to university and did all those kinds of things, but the opportunity to go to sea, to be in the forces, and to spend my summers having a completely different kind of workplace experience and one that has helped me throughout my career is, I think, an amazing story for the forces to tell and we just need to tell it more.