Certainly. It's 2019, and since assuming command in 2017, we have focused a lot of effort on recruiting women. As I mentioned, we trialled Women in Force, because we understand that women, and most millennials—because we got comments “Why did you do this just for women, why not for men?”—want to be able to kick the tires, take it around the block and get a sense of what it is.
We conducted a tiger team that essentially reviewed all of the practices that we were doing in recruiting with assistance from the PCO hub to look at the language we were using in our ads. Was it too male-specific? Could we change the wording?
We've done a lot of work in the social media sphere and with our ads to present women within the context of the Canadian Armed Forces, sometimes to our detriment, because one of the things that women do not want is to actually be singled out. It actually works against us where they see just commercial after commercial and all you see is a group of women, because it gives them the sense that they're nothing more than just a figure, they're not actually part of the forces.
We are certainly making progress, but we face the same challenge that we do for recruiting any of the other EE groups within Canada or even Canadian citizens in general. That is the fact that most Canadians, while they know we have a military, really don't know what the military does. They think we're primarily focused on peacekeeping and humanitarian, and they certainly aren't aware of the opportunities available.
If the broader Canadian public doesn't have that awareness, then you can certainly assume that neither do young women have that awareness of what it is we do. We get out into the social media sphere and do recruiter for a day activities, where we will have a young woman who's serving answer questions. We have featured videos, where we provide an opportunity to see what our training is like for both men and women.
It's slow progress, because we're battling that overall general lack of awareness. We are making inroads, we continue to increase the number of women. We have a number of other initiatives that I could describe. It's a long list that we're building. It is slowly making progress, but the biggest challenge is to increase awareness among all Canadians that the Canadian Armed Forces is not just the infanteer you see in Saving Private Ryan. It's everything from padres to electricians to aircraft pilots to doctors to logisticians.